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U.S. Soccer Referee Kari Seitz to Participate in 1st FIFA Women's Referee Workshop

Seitz One of Five CONCACAF Officials Chosen; Will Join 38 Referees
in First FIFA Referee Training Program Geared Toward Women

CHICAGO (February 24, 2005)—U.S. Soccer Referee Kari Seitz was chosen as one of 38 women who will participate in FIFA’s first-ever Women’s Referee Workshop. The workshop takes place from March 7-15 in Algarve, Portugal, coinciding with the 2005 Algarve Cup.

The Women’s Referee Workshop was established to prepare women referees for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China. It is designed to resemble the approach being implemented on the men’s side for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which includes workshops and camps where FIFA instructors can train and evaluate officials. The 2005 Algarve Cup was chosen to host the first women’s workshop, as it is a top-level tournament taking place in a year in which there are no FIFA women’s events scheduled.

“This program shows the commitment, internationally, to see that women officials receive top level training both on and off the field,” Seitz said of the program. “What’s really compelling is the fact that there are so many fewer tournaments for women officials and therefore there aren’t as many opportunities to get together and grow, so this is really an important step.”

Seitz is one of three female FIFA certified referees in the United States and one of five CONCACAF referees at the 2005 Algarve Cup. The last FIFA tournament Seitz participated in was the 2004 Athens Olympics, where she officiated the Bronze medal match between Germany and Sweden while the U.S. played Brazil for the Gold Medal. Seitz also officiated at the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cups and the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand.

“Kari has had wonderful performances in all her previous tournaments,” said Director of International and Advanced Referee Development Esse Baharmast. “We are very happy and proud that FIFA has invited her to be a part of this prestigious tournament and could not ask for a better ambassador to represent U.S. Soccer.”

Each referee participating in the Algarve Cup will officiate one game, which will be observed by FIFA and discussed with the group. Referees and assistant referees will also take part in a fitness test and heart rate monitoring, and will attend practical training sessions and technical meetings.

“If people continue to see women achieve and perform well at these kind of events, I think that women’s soccer will grow and women’s refereeing will grow,” Seitz said. “I think it’s a really good reflection on our referee program that we’re producing top-level referees. I’m hoping that not just myself, but other women from the U.S. will get a similar opportunity.”

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