BRADENTON, Fla (April 8, 2007) - Preseason is a time for players to work out their kinks, get fit and do what they can to prepare for 30 games, plus playoffs. And while players on all 13 MLS teams got set for the 2007 season, there was another “team” doing the same exact thing. U.S. Soccer’s four full-time referees spent a week in Bradenton, Fla., working on fitness, studying game tapes and manning scrimmages, all in an attempt to increase the performance of MLS officiating this season.
As Jair Marrufo, Ricardo Salazar, Baldomero Toledo and Terry Vaughn trained under the tutelage of U.S. Soccer's Director of Advanced & International Referee Development Esse Baharmast, ussoccer.com was there to capture an inside look into the weeklong preparation camp.
In this exclusive all_access video, Baharmast provides viewers with an overview of the camp, which will be the first of many for the four full-time referees.
The purpose of hiring the full four-time referees this year is to continue the growth and progress of soccer officiating in the United States. As full-time referees, Marrufo, Salazar, Toledo and Vaughn are able to focus all of their professional abilities on practical on-field applications, as well as on off-the-field training.
These camps, and the entire program overall, is designed to enhance high-level performance, training and development opportunities for the sport’s elite officials in the United States. The United States is now just one of only a handful of countries with full-time professional referees (a list that includes England, France, Holland, Italy and Spain).