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National Referee Certification Seminar to Take Place in Arizona From Jan. 23-26

As part of our continuing effort to service and educate our membership, each Thursday U.S. Soccer will provide an informative article from one of its departments. Once a week, we will bring you an article/paper/essay that will hopefully enhance your enjoyment and knowledge of the game of soccer - on and off the field.

This week, we’ll introduce you to the National Referee Certification Seminar that will take place in Arizona in late January. 

Annual Referee Camp Serves To Test Referees, Prepare Them For Coming Year; 
All National Referees Must Attend Seminar to Acquire Their National Badge For 2003

Each year, all national referees and national candidates are required to attend an annual camp to acquire their national badge for the current year.  This year, the National Referee Certification Seminar, commonly known as National Camp, will take place January 23 – 26 in Chandler, Arizona.  More than 260 national referees and national referee hopefuls are expected to attend.

The National Referee Certification Seminar is a high-level training opportunity for referees and a place to undergo final preparations before 2003 kicks into full gear.  At the seminar the referees take physical and written tests, in addition to participating in a variety of workshops that address current issues in refereeing.  The referees will also hear from a variety of speakers during the four-day clinic.  

U.S. Soccer Federation President Dr. S.  Robert Contiguglia and Secretary General Dan Flynn will both speak at the opening ceremonies on January 24, before the International Panel members are presented with their FIFA badges and those referees selected for professional championship matches are recognized. 

At the ceremonies, Bob Wertz, past chairman of the National Referee Committee, will be honored with the 2002 Eddie Pearson Award.  The Eddie Pearson Award is the highest award given by the referee department and is awarded for contributions made to the program at a national level, both on the field and off the field as an instructor, assessor and/or administrator.

The following day the referees will be divided into four groups to take their physical and written tests.  The workshop sessions begin on Friday afternoon and finish on Sunday morning.  The referees are divided into three groups for the workshop sessions, which this year include:  Player Management, Denying a Goal Scoring Opportunity and Violence, Self Evaluation and Assessment, a panel discussion featuring professional league coaches and more. 

The instructional topics and materials that are developed for National Camp are utilized throughout the rest of the year for Regional Pro clinics, as well as other clinics and seminars across the country.   Some presentations will also be made into stand-alone training aids for instructors to utilize at local clinics. 

George Cumming, former FIFA Director of Referees, will highlight the speakers at this year’s camp.  Cumming, now a consultant for FIFA, will travel from Scotland to make several presentations to U.S. Soccer’s National Referees and National Candidates.

Also speaking at the National Camp will be two former National Basketball Association (NBA) referees, Ed Rush and Bob Delaney.  Rush, the NBA Director of Officials, and Delaney will make a presentation on teamwork among referees, and on Friday afternoon Delaney, who is also a distinguished corporate speaker on leadership, will speak about leadership.  Delaney also worked for many years as an undercover agent for the FBI.  Both Rush and Delaney come to National Camp courtesy of the NBA Officials Association in a spirit of teamwork between national officiating groups. 

After a historic year for U.S. referees in 2002, this year gets off to a running start for the nation’s top referees with the four-day clinic in Arizona.  The clinic will put the referees through final tests and make final preparations for the coming year, as well as giving the referees a chance to renew old friendships with other national referees. 

For more information on the National Referee Certification Seminar, please contact Alfred Kleinaitis, U.S. Soccer's Manager of Referee Education, at (312) 528-1272 or