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Turmoil in Tukwila: Open Cup Fiasco Could Have Been Avoided

b2ap3_thumbnail_dempseyredcard.jpgIf the third time’s a charm, what is the fourth time? 


For the US Open Cup, the Fourth Round of competition (the Round of 32 teams and 16 games) signaled the anticipated debut of the 17 U.S.-based MLS teams.   And while only two matches saw MLS teams fall to lower division opponents (one each from the NASL and USL), three other MLS sides squeaked by via penalty tiebreakers.


Speaking of fours – before the Orlando City/Charleston Battery game was ultimately decided by 10 rounds of tiebreaker kicks from the mark, referee Rubiel Vazquez whistled and pointed to the spot no less than four times.  Orlando City’s Carlos Rivas bagged his first career hat trick by converting all three penalty kicks awarded to the Lions.  Interesting stuff indeed.


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Assistant Referees: Plan to Succeed… Know Your Surroundings!

b2ap3_thumbnail_goal.jpgNostalgia time.  I remember my first Major League Soccer assignment like it was yesterday: Old Mile High Stadium in Denver… April 14, 2001.  This rookie was going to be the Junior Assistant Referee for Kevin Stott in the Colorado Rapids’ home opener against the MetroStars.  In hindsight, I probably should have informed Kevin more than 30 minutes prior to kick-off that this would be my first career MLS game.


No worries.  Mr. Stott has an amazing sense of humor.  And an even more amazing presence on the field.


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Cautions: When you “Give” a Yellow Card, What do you “Get” in Return?

b2ap3_thumbnail_In-Your-face.jpgOur 140,000+ registered soccer referees here in the United States are extremely fortunate to have professional peers from which to learn.  While cheering on their favorite or hometown teams, aspiring referees can tune into Major League Soccer games for nine months out of the year and study how referees recognize foul play, take risks to maximize game flow, manage player behaviors, and apply the Laws of the Game.  Television coverage of pro soccer has grown by leaps and bounds over MLS’ first two decades.


Just one request:  Please don’t emulate the pro referees’ mechanics when they issue yellow cards.  What works for them might not work as well for you…


When it comes to issuing cautions, our aspiring officials – especially Grade 7 referees working adult games at the amateur level (AGAL) and in particular those who fly solo (without assistant referees) – must consistently get it right, as their success in managing the game absolutely depends on it.


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USA soccer referees are not good enough!

b2ap3_thumbnail_FIFA-Referees.jpgThe success of USA FIFA referee Mark Geiger at the recent World Cup in Brazil appears to be a one-off. There are no more refs in the USA with FIFA potential. That’s it - NONE.


Well that’s according to the latest news from “Refereeing World” which recently published a list of referees for a seminar in “Prospective World Cup Referee.” They were drawn from CONMEBOL & CONCACAF and not one referee from the USA is listed.


It has to be stated that these are up-and-coming officials and not from the existing list. Still, that makes for disturbing reading and someone needs to be held accountable.


The obvious questions that have to be asked:


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7 Characteristics of an Effective Referee: Do YOU have what it takes?

b2ap3_thumbnail_wooden_pyramid.jpgIn recent blogs, I have shared observations about what makes some of us “more effective” referees than others... such as being “Ready for Anything” or not rushing a call by “Counting to One.”  At the end of the day, wisdom and physical fitness are largely wasted if the referee isn’t effective in what he or she does on the field.  In sharing my thoughts, I’ve tried (in my own small way) to impart an idea or two that aspiring officials might consider working into their own officiating routine.


No free advice today.  And no one made the highlight reel, either.


Today, I would like to challenge every official to take timeout for some important introspection.  Think about how you reached your current level of officiating… and if you aspire to reach even higher, what do you need to focus on to achieve further advancement?


John R. Wooden, arguably the most successful collegiate basketball coach of all time, introduced his “Pyramid of Success” to develop UCLA student-athletes.  The “Wizard of Westwood” identified 15 key aspects, and then assembled them into a five-tiered pyramid, with the pinnacle being achievement of “Competitive Greatness.”


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