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Resource Center: Baharmast to Train International Instructors

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

This month U.S. Soccer’s Director of Advanced and International Referee Development Esse Baharmast will be traveling overseas to train referee instructors as part of a new FIFA initiative.

Baharmast to Conduct Pilot Course for Referee Instructors
as Part of Brand New FIFA Initiative

CHICAGO (Thursday, April 15, 2004) – U.S. Soccer Director of Advanced and International Referee Development Esse Baharmast will be traveling to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, later this week to conduct the first course for referee instructors as part of Futuro III, FIFA’s new, proactive development program.

Baharmast was appointed by FIFA to assist in development of and is the head instructor for this pilot course from April 19-25. FIFA created the Futuro III initiative to develop instructors around the globe in the areas of coaching, refereeing, general administration and sports medicine. Developed after extensive research by FIFA and its members, the program organizes courses where regional federations can send their top instructors to learn from the best in the world.

“This is a great honor for Esse and a testament to the respect our entire Referee Department has earned in being recognized by FIFA as a leader in these types of initiatives,” said U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia. “While the focus on U.S. Soccer is often on the accomplishments of our National Teams on the playing field, it is equally important in building a well-rounded federation to acknowledge the increasing influence and successes we have also achieved in our coaching, referee and sports medicine departments.”

FIFA has stated that the purpose of Futuro III is to educate referee instructors who take an active role in referee development within their respective federations. In addition to the host Malaysia, other federations represented from the region will be Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei and Cambodia.

“It is my hope that we can bring consistency and uniformity in regards to the interpretation and application of the Laws of the Game and as a result provide a safer and more enjoyable environment for the players at all levels,” Baharmast said.

The curriculum for the five-day course includes a thorough program for both referees and assistant referees. Baharmast will lead 14 sessions that range from an hour to 90 minutes on topics ranging from fitness to fouls and misconduct to teamwork between the entire four-person referee crew. Hussain Gandanfari and Fernando Tresaco will conduct two additional sessions on offside in addition to working with Baharmast on the teamwork session.

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 at the World Cup in France in 1998. In a first-round game between Norway and Brazil he was widely criticized for a penalty kick call, but then later celebrated when photographers’ photos showed the shirt-pulling that the TV cameras had not picked up.

"On a personal note, this is a great honor for me. It ranks right up with being chosen to referee in the World Cup,” Baharmast said. “But, more importantly, it is a great reflection of the referee programs at both U.S. Soccer and CONCACAF and their accomplishments. The fact that FIFA has entrusted us with this great task tells a lot about our program and its success.”

One year prior to being named the 1997 MLS Referee of the Year, Baharmast refereed the U.S. Open Cup, MLS and A-League Finals as well as the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996. He retired from the playing field following the 1998 World Cup, and has since served in an administrative capacity.

For more information on the U.S. Soccer Referee Department or information on how to become a soccer referee, contact Carol McGuire at 312-528-1241 or