Mariscal Twins Continue Family Refereeing Lineage
Platinum Program Assistant Referees Apolinar and Eduardo Mariscal Worked U-17/18, U-15/16 Academy Finals
There is not much separation between work and casual discussion when it comes to soccer for the Mariscal family, especially as the siblings expand their role within the refereeing community.
Apolinar “Polo” Mariscal and twin brother Eduardo Mariscal are among the 10-person 2012-13 class in the Platinum Program, which was launched earlier this year to accelerate high potential officials to the professional ranks.
The Mariscal twins, who turned 28 earlier in September, are part of an active referee lineage that includes older brother Alejandro “Alex” Mariscal who has worked Major League Soccer matches on a regular basis, and sister Felisha Mariscal who has officiated a variety of international and Women’s Professional Soccer games.
“It’s definitely way different when you talk to your brother compared to how you talk with any other colleague,” Eduardo said of the family refereeing dynamic. “In both cases you have to be confident and honest, but you have to be careful with how you say things. You want to respect the other person and their opinion. Being siblings actually helps us see things.”
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The Mariscals are meticulous in nature and soccer officiating dissection is commonplace on a week-to-week basis, whether they are working together or not.
“We try every week to get together – all four of us – to discuss videos of the week and try to see any game on TV,” Polo said. “We discuss each other’s calls and what we can do better.”
“It’s been great working with Alex and Polo to do different games,” Eduardo said. “We understand each other, talk to each other every day, talk about each game, analyze our games, and we can tell each other the truth – ‘You need to do this differently.’ ‘Great job here.’ – and we have confidence in talking to each other and accept what each other says. We have the opportunity to disagree and try to see the other guy’s point. It helps a lot and I enjoy it.”
The Mariscals are from Chula Vista, Calif., and both work at California State University – San Marcos. Polo was admitted to the Platinum Program in June within the early application window. Eduardo was included in the second group of admitted officials in August. Both logged valuable minutes during the 2011-12 Development Academy Finals Week in Houston this summer.
Polo was an assistant referee (AR) in the U-17/18 Final between champion FC Dallas and runner-up Vancouver Whitecaps FC, while Eduardo was an AR for the U-15/16 championship between first-time winner New York Red Bulls and St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri.
“We went to the Playoffs in North Carolina before [in 2009], but to be in the Final and see the quality of the youth players grow throughout the years is great,” Eduardo said.
“It was a great and an honor to be there at the Houston Dynamo’s stadium,” Polo said. “To be working with assistant referee mentors has been a great experience because we’ve received feedback that we never heard before. You learn so much.”
The assistant referee path was something that both men were drawn to from the start.
“I wanted to be on the field originally, but the more I worked as an assistant referee, the more I really enjoyed it,” Polo said. “It’s challenging and I’m looking to take advantage of this opportunity.”
“Since I started refereeing, I always enjoyed being on the line,” Eduardo said. “The choice to be an assistant referee was easy for me and I wanted to pursue that. I want to grow as a referee and it will help me understand what a referee needs from me during a game. Polo feels the same way.”
The Mariscals began their refereeing path in their late teens when their mother Luz wanted them to find work. Polo says Luz, a single mom, has grounded them in a way that is invaluable to this day.
“I think we owe a lot to our mom because she taught us discipline and character,” Polo said. “She’s very special. Being a single parent, she has supported us and loved us very much. We wouldn’t be here without her.”