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More Than 200 Referees to Participate in U.S. Soccer's National Training Camps

U.S. Soccer to Hold Two National Training Camps in 2005;
Referees to Undergo Written and Physical Fitness Tests to Officiate at Top Level

CHICAGO (January 13, 2004) – U.S. Soccer Referee Department will kick off 2005 with its annual National Referee Certification and National Training Seminars at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., beginning today (Jan. 13) and running through Sunday (Jan. 16). A second national seminar will run from February 3-6, also in Carson. Known as National Training Camps, the Seminars are four-day clinics where referees are tested and trained to officiate at the top tier of professional soccer in the United States, including Major League Soccer.

“I have no doubt that all attending individuals will give everything they have to making the camps a success,” said Manager of Referee Development and Education Alfred Kleinaitis. "We have no doubt that the effort from these referees will show again the sustained growth and excellence that exists in our referee program."

National Training Camps are required for all officials looking to earn their National Referee Badge for the current year. More than 105 returning national referees are expected to attend the camp in January and more than 130 are expected to seek their national badge for the first time at the February camp. Members of the FIFA International Panel of Referees will also be recognized and presented with their FIFA badges.

Participation at the national referee camps is by invitation only. All participants must have a cataloged summary of their 2004 game experience and a certain number of assessments, each by a different assessor, to qualify. The number of assessments that a referee must have depends on whether that candidate is seeking re-certification or receiving a National certificate for the first time.

Both training camps will kick off with opening ceremonies that will see U.S. Soccer recognize members of the FIFA International Panel as well as referees assigned to professional playoff games. This year, U.S. Soccer will also be presenting Fernando Alvarez with the FIFA Order of Merit, the highest award bestowed by FIFA, for his dedication to the international referee community. Also speaking at the opening ceremonies will be U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia.

On Friday, referees will be required to pass both a written and a physical fitness test to obtain their badge. Both male and female U.S. Soccer officials must meet the same fitness standards. To be selected for officiating at the highest level of soccer in the U.S., officials must run 2,700 meters (about 1.7 miles) or more in 12 minutes. After the 12-minute run, officials must complete a 200-meter sprint, followed by a 50-meter sprint, another 200-meter sprint and another 50-meter sprint. Both 200-meter dashes must be completed in 32 seconds or less, and the 50-meter sprints must be run in 7.5 seconds or less. To receive a national badge but not be considered for the top level, referees must run at least 2,400 meters in 12 minutes, followed by the 200-meter and 50-meter sprints, which must be completed in 40 seconds and 9 seconds, respectively.

The remainder of the seminar will consist of practical field sessions, where the referees will cover everything from field positioning to handballs, penalty kicks and obvious goal scoring opportunities. The seminars will conclude on Sunday evening with the presentation of badges to the National Referees.

For more information on U.S. Soccer’s referee programs, visit the Referee section of or contact the Referee Department at 312-528-1211.

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