US SoccerUS Soccer

National Referee Testing and Certification Seminar to Take Place This Weekend

CHICAGO (Friday, January 23, 2004) – This weekend the annual National Referee Testing and Certification Seminar will take place in Torrance, Calif. Commonly called The National Camp, the Seminar is a four-day clinic that will see more than 109 national referees and other national referee candidates in attendance, including the entire pool of referees and assistant referees who will officiate in MLS competition during the upcoming 2004 campaign.

The camp is an annual requirement for all officials seeking to earn their national badge for the current year. Referees who are members of the International Panel will also be presented with their FIFA badges. Workshop sessions begin on the afternoon of Friday, Jan. 23 and run through Sunday, Jan. 25. Fitness and written tests are scheduled to take place Friday morning.

“This year, for the first time, we will have two national camps,” said U.S. Soccer’s Managing Director of Federation Services Julie Ilacqua. “With the number of national referees growing, we felt that trying to do two National Camps would give the staff and referees an opportunity to know one another better.  It also makes the educational training easier when dealing with smaller groups.”

The second National Camp will take place the following weekend, from Thursday, Jan. 29 to Sunday, Feb. 1. The schedule of events will be identical for both National Camps.

Player representatives from several MLS clubs will attend the annual National Referee Testing and Certification Seminar for the first time. Last year the National Camp, held in Chandler, Arizona (outside Phoenix), saw the participation of nine MLS head coaches and one general manager, the first time in the history of the event that MLS teams were represented at the national gathering of the country's top soccer referees.

The list of MLS players scheduled to attend includes: Eddie Pope (MetroStars),  Jesse Marsch (Chicago Fire), Mike Clark (Columbus Crew), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Jason Kreis (Dallas Burn), Dema Kovalenko (D.C. United), Tony Meola (Kansas City Wizards), Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brian Kamler (New England Revolution) and Troy Dayak (San Jose Earthquakes). Former MLS players and current MLS head coaches Peter Nowak (D.C. United) and Dominic Kinnear (San Jose Earthquakes) will also participate in the event ahead of their first season as head coaches in MLS. Along with observing the high-level training and tests that the referees undergo, MLS players will also partake in panel discussions that will address current issues in refereeing on Friday afternoon (Jan. 23).

“We are very pleased to welcome the MLS athletes and coaches Peter Nowak and Dominic Kinnear to our 2004 National Certification Seminar,” said Ilacqua. “We think that the participation of the MLS coaches in 2003 helped lead to mutual respect and understanding of the roles that we all play in the game. In addition, having some of the athletes join us this year will continue to build on what was started last year.”

The weekend kicked off on Thursday, Jan. 22 and will run through Sunday, Jan. 25 with headquarters at the Torrance Marriott. While all meetings and panel/video/group discussions will be held at the official National Camp hotel, fitness tests will be conducted at The Home Depot Center.