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 report on the annual National Referee Certification Seminar taking place this weekend in Arizona.
National Referee Certification Seminar Commences This Weekend in Arizona
U.S. Soccer's annual National Referee Certification Seminar will take place this weekend in Chandler, Arizona from Thursday (Jan. 23) to Sunday (Jan. 26). The annual event is a four-day clinic that will see more than 260 national referees and other national referee candidates in attendance. The camp is an annual requirement for all officials seeking to earn their national badge for the current year.
"The focus of the National Referee Camp is two-fold," said Esse Baharmast, U.S. Soccer's Director of Advanced and International Referee Development. "First and foremost each national referee is required to meet a certain fitness level and, of course, pass a rules examination. This is a very challenging endeavor for everyone in attendance and there is no question the pressure is on these referees this weekend."
This year's edition of the national referee camp will feature representatives from every MLS club for the first time, as well as representatives from the WUSA. Aside from observing the high-level training and tests that the referees are set to undergo, the professional coaching contingent will also partake in panel discussions that will address current issues in refereeing.
"In addition to testing our referees, these sessions are designed to communicate with officials," added Baharmast. "We will conduct seminars and panels to relay the latest FIFA and CONCACAF directives in regards to the interpretation of the Laws of the Game. It is a very valuable time in making sure everyone is on the same page."
As part of the weekend itinerary, referees who have been honored with selection to the International Panel in 2003 will be presented with their FIFA badges while those officials selected for professional championship matches will also be recognized. Workshop sessions begin on Friday afternoon and run through Sunday. Fitness and written tests are scheduled to take place on Saturday.
The weekend gets underway with Opening Ceremonies on Friday, featuring speeches by U.S. Soccer President Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia and Secretary General Dan Flynn. Among the other distinguished speakers is George Cumming, a former Director of Referees for FIFA, who is currently a FIFA consultant and will travel from Scotland to make several presentations to U.S. Soccer's National Referees and National Candidates. Also in attendance 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. On Friday afternoon Delaney, who is also a distinguished corporate speaker, will address the subject of leadership.