U.S. Soccer referees converged on the National Training Center in Carson, California, in mid-July for two highly competitive events: the 2014 NTC Invitational and the 2013-14 Development Academy Championships.
The National Training Center Invitational was a four-team event over a five-day stretch (July 14-18) that featured the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team, which went on to win the tournament, runner-up Australia, Costa Rica and Bermuda.
In conjunction with this event was the 2013-14 Development Academy Championships, which included four semifinal games (two at both the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups) on July 17 and two championship matches on July 19 that resulted in the LA Galaxy winning at the U-15/16s and New Jersey-based Players Development Academy earning the U-17/18 national crown.
Naturally, having the opportunity to officiate high-profile internationally- and nationally-based matches proved to be a valuable platform for the referees on hand at the NTC and StubHub Center.
“The NTC Invitational and Academy Championships served as a great environment and experience for some of the best up-and-coming referees,” said Herb Silva, U.S. Soccer Director of Referee Identification and Training. “Along with the matches themselves, those went hand-in-hand with the itinerary on site, where we covered everything from positioning and foul identification, to evaluation, to player and game management and many other instructional elements.”
With the events overlapping at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center fields and StubHub Center, referee trainings were combined into one group. National assessments and video breakdown occurred for all games and the group as a whole reviewed their performances.
The base of officials included four referees and five assistant referees working the U-20 matches, and they were chosen based on their exceptional performances at various 2014 identification events. The officials who worked the Academy Championships included eight referees and eight assistant referees. They were selected based on their performances at the U-15/16 and U-17/18 Academy Playoffs and the U-13/14 Academy Showcase, both of which took place in June at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana.
U.S. Soccer’s technical staff included Silva, Rick Eddy, Sandy Hunt, Craig Lowry, Joe Machnik, George Noujaim and Don Wilbur.