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Player-Management skills and proper use of cautions.

Tchani Gets Yellow CardFellow sports enthusiasts, it’s been one euphoric weekend here in Los Angeles… for pretty much everyone except Donald Sterling.


First, my Clippers managed to concentrate on hoops long enough to squeak past Golden State and into the second round of the NBA Playoffs, then my Kings stole the first game of their NHL Playoff Series from a bunch of Ducks, and everyone else (or so it seemed) took time to wish me a Happy Birthday.


Thank you, one and all, for making my birthday a special one indeed (especially Mark Zuckerberg… I couldn’t have done it without you, old buddy).   I wonder if Mr. Z is a CD Chivas USA fan…  I should give him a call, or send him a Facebook message… or a poke (whatever that is).


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MLS Referee spoils the game: Send-off for 2nd caution unfairly tips the balance!


a1sx2_Thumbnail1_1_20140407-012957_1.pngBack in 2001 (plus or minus a year), when I was cutting my teeth as a National Referee, we welcomed former U.S. National Team and Kansas City Wizards coach Bob Gansler to our national camp in advance of the MLS season.  He was the first of several speakers to drill into our heads the importance of having the right “feel for the game” in order to interpret team tactics and individual players’ decision making – these are critical skills for referees, especially when officiating at a level much higher than you played at years before (and yes, that is the reality for every referee in the room… none of us played in MLS).


Fingerspitzengefühl is a German term, literally translating to "finger tips feeling" and meaning an intuitive flair or instinct, having superior situational awareness, and being able to appropriately and tactfully respond to changing conditions.  Mr. Gansler spoke of it eloquently that day (and without accent).  Later that day and throughout the next, Alfred Kleinaitis and Esse Baharmast echoed the rather profound message (but with more profound accents).  I think even Julie Ilacqua tried to work it into her vocabulary that weekend.


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Persistent Infringement: Are MLS Referees Allowed to Caution for it?

b2ap3_thumbnail_refpic.jpgI’ve been away too long, or so I was told. 


After trying to help – in my own small way – settle a labor dispute and get PSRA’s dedicated and hard-working officials back on the pitch (some will argue my big mouth helped the cause; others might suggest I nearly killed it), I spent the last two weeks dodging Southern California earthquakes after totaling my over-priced European luxury sedan (you might be surprised how easy it is to total one… I mean how quickly the damage adds up, not how simple it is to rear-end a utility truck). 


In fairness, I was reaching for a pen to write down a great idea for my next blog… which wasn’t all that great.


Thank goodness this weekend wasn’t a total loss.  Nine games on the docket for MLS Week 4, or as I prefer to call it, MLS Week 2*.


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MLS Referees are Locked Out… Here come the Replacements!

b2ap3_thumbnail_MLSLOGO.pngTime, patience and reason have apparently run out.


This morning at 11:00 am Eastern, the management of the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) announced that it has locked out members of the Professional Soccer Referees Association (PSRA), and that PRO will schedule replacement officials for the eight Major League Soccer matches that will be played this weekend.


After contacting PSRA leadership this morning and informing them of the lockout decision, PRO General Manager Peter Walton informed a gathering of 25 officials in Orlando at 10:30am Eastern.  In a somber 20-minute meeting, Walton instructed the referees to alter their flight itineraries and return home, and that their compensation and health insurance benefits had stopped effective immediately.  The officials had flown to Orlando for three days of instruction and training in advance of this weekend’s games, and most were scheduled to fly directly to their "game cities" later today.


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MLS Referees consider strike as PRO threatens officials! - UPDATED 3/6/14

a1sx2_blog_PSRA.jpgThe moving trucks are lined up in Sochi.  The half-pipe is being thawed for storage.  And the four electronic snowflakes will soon find a permanent home in an Olympic museum, or perhaps the Sochi Mall.  Four years and 4,448 miles until The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.  And, a lifetime of memories for Drew Doughty, whom I now declare the MVP of Team Canada and my Los Angeles Kings.


On this soapbox – graciously presented by our friends at -- I’ve shared a thought, voiced an occasional opinion, maybe two.  I’ve taken on controversy, and although Sideshow Bob is still calling the shots, I predict winds of change will soon usher in a brighter day in Minnesota...


As we bid adieu to February, I call on every soccer referee reading this Blog, every friend of a colleague who knows a soccer referee, and every soccer fan – whether avid or casual – to answer the call and take action.  This one’s personal.


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