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U.S. Soccer Referee Jair Marrufo Named 2008 MLS Referee of the Year

CHICAGO (Nov. 6, 2008) – U.S. Soccer Referee Jair Marrufo was named the 2008 MLS Referee of the Year as Major League Soccer continues its end-of-season awards in New York. Marrufo, who joined U.S. Soccer in 2007 as part of its full-time referee program, took home the honor for the first time in his career. Kermit Quisenberry also earned an award, being named the MLS Assistant Referee of the Year.

“Its a great honor to be voted for by the league and our peers,” said Marrufo, who has refereed in MLS since 2002 and was nominated for the Referee of the Year award in 2007. “It shows the dedication that [Kermit and myself] have given throughout the year and shown on the field during games. It's nice to have people recognize that, and it was a good surprise this morning.”

Marrufo learned of the award from his hotel in Chicago, where he is preparing to take charge of Thursday's MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal game between the Chicago Fire and the New England Revolution.

In 2007, Marrufo became one of four referees, including Terry Vaughn, Baldomero Toledo, and Ricardo Salazar, who were installed as part of U.S. Soccer's full-time referee program. This year, Marrufo has refereed at the highest level domestically, while also traveling to the Olympics in China, where he took charge of the memorable quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands. Quisenberry was also part of the U.S. refereeing crew that traveled to Beijing.

“I've been working for a long time but I think from since last year, becoming a full time referee, getting nominated in 2007 and then winning this year, shows that the U.S. Soccer full-time referee program is working,” said Marrufo, who has been a licensed referee since 1996. “Dedicating yourself to refereeing allows you to focus on becoming better, and I think U.S. Soccer's program has helped tremendously in my career, both in MLS and out of the country.”