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Interview with FIFA and USSF Referee Chris Penso

b2ap3_thumbnail_penso2.jpgChris Penso

Born: 04/28/1982

Referee since: 1997

Professional Debut: Miami FC vs. Puerto Rico - USL Div 1 - 07/04/2008

FIFA Referee since: 2013


When did you decide to become a referee, and who were some of the influences on your career?


I became a referee in 1997 at the age of 14. My youth coach asked if anyone wanted to attend an entry level referee course and I volunteered to go as I figured it would be a fun way to earn some money. Another major influence was my district referee administrator at the time, Tom Chapman (current OH-N SRA).

What do you think is the most misunderstood aspect of the refereeing profession by coaches, players, fans and the media?

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Interview with FIFA and USSF Referee Ricardo Salazar

b2ap3_thumbnail_salazar.jpgRicardo Salazar 

Born: 09/06/72

Referee since: 1985

MLS Referee since: 2000

FIFA Referee since: 2005

Full Time USSF Referee since: 2007


When did you decide to become a referee, and who were some of the influences on your career?


I became a referee at the young age of 13. Due to the lack of numbers of referees when growing up playing, the league asked each club to designate a parent to become a referee.  My dad went to the entry level class and worked one year alone.  It was the following year that he sent me and my brother so he would have a referee team, so for a few years he would blow the whistle while my brother and I ran the line for him.  Also, he was able to protect us and we got little grief from coaches/spectators.  So you can say my dad had an influence in getting me started.  The two other people who had an influence as my career began to take off were Viet Troung and Steve Siomos.


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Tragedy strikes as Dutch referee dies after attack!

On December 2, 2012, Richard Nieuwenhuizen, Dutch soccer referee, has died after a group of youth players from SV Nieuw Sloten, whose ages ranged from 15 to 16, allegedly attacked and beaten him to death. The Associated Press reported that Mr. Nieuwenhuizen was “working as a linesman during his son's youth soccer match.” While the precise cause of Richard’s death was not yet officially disclosed, it was reported on Dutch television that his death had been caused by brain damage sustained during the attack. The AP also reported that the “the players were still in custody and investigations were ongoing” and that the “police would not rule out arresting more suspects. The USA Today later reported that “prosecutors [were] charging three players, two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old, with manslaughter, assault and public violence for alleged involvement in a vicious attack on Nieuwenhuizen.” The AP reported that the club, Nieuw Sloten, said in a statement on its website that “it has banned the players involved and pulled their team out of the league” and further stated that such “incidents ‘do not belong on a football field.’"  We immediately wrote on our Facebook page that we and the entire soccer community were mourning and called on FIFA and all its Member Associations to condemn this senseless act of violence.


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USSF got it wrong - violation of substitution procedure is no trifling offense.

In this blog, we are writing about remarks that were included in the Advice to Referees on the Laws of the Game issued by the United States Soccer Federation (the “USSF”) in 2011.  Specifically, we express our disappointment and dismay over the advice offered by the USSF, which appears to direct referees to disregard specific provisions of the Laws of the Game, dealing with the substitution and changing of goalkeepers.  Indeed, we direct your attention to the following paragraph in section 8.3 titled “THE START OF PLAY” and, in particular, to the sentence that we underlined below:

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The U.S. Soccer Federation and Major League Soccer form the Professional Referee Organization.

On March 6, 2012, the U.S. Soccer Federation and Major League Soccer announced that they formed the Professional Referee Organization (PRO). The statement on the Federation's website stated that:


"[PRO] will be responsible for managing the referee program in professional soccer leagues in the United States and Canada.

The creation of PRO is designed to increase the quality of officiating in U.S. and Canadian professional leagues, develop more professional quality officials at a younger age and develop officials who will represent the United States and Canada in FIFA competitions.

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