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U.S. Soccer Referees Baharmast and Hunt To Participate in FUTURO III

Baharmast And Hunt To Be Part of The Referee Portion of FIFA Initiative Futuro III

CHICAGO (Wednesday, August 25, 2004) – U.S. Soccer Director of Advanced and International Referee Development Esse Baharmast and U.S. Soccer referee Sandra Hunt will participate in the Introductory Seminar for Refereeing Instructors in Madrid, Spain, from September 7-9. The seminar is part of the Futuro III initiative created by FIFA to develop instructors around the world in coaching, refereeing, general administration and sports medicine.

"On a personal note, it is truly an honor to be a part of this initiative," Baharmast said. "But more importantly, it is a great tribute to CONCACAF and U.S. Soccer that Sandra Hunt and I have been invited to be a part of this important undertaking that will shape the future of instruction to the referees around the globe."

Baharmast was the head instructor in the Futuro III pilot course held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in April of this year. In Madrid, he and Hunt will participate in a number of sessions over the course of the three days on topics ranging from fitness to fouls and misconduct to teamwork between the four-person referee crew.

"It’s a tremendous honor to be included in such a small group of people around the world and to be entrusted with that kind of responsibility," Hunt said. "It’s humbling to be asked to represent not only U.S. Soccer, but at this level, to also represent FIFA and make sure all their standards are upheld."

Those who participated during the pilot phase in Malaysia, such as Baharmast, will relay their experiences to FIFA instructors in Madrid and make them familiar with course content. Following the completion of the seminar in Madrid, FIFA instructors will be asked to set up regional courses to assemble and educate instructors selected by each confederation’s member associations in each continent.

In addition to currently serving as an instructor and assessor, Baharmast was the first American to referee two games in a World Cup, when he did so during France 1998. He has served in his current role at U.S. Soccer for more than six years.

Hunt, a FIFA official since 1999, recently participated in the Four Nations Tournament in China and was named the tournament’s top referee. She also served as a fourth official in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2003.