Monday, October 15, 2007

U.S. Soccer Development Academy Fall Showcase

The thing I liked the most about the Academy experience was that it brought me into close contact with the finest referees in Southern California. Being able to observe so many good refs during such high quality games sharpened my skills and brought my level of refereeing up a notch or two, both on and off the field.

Another thing that struck me was that it demonstrates U.S. Soccer's genuine desire to improve the level of refereeing. The amount of professionalism involved in the scheduling and accommodations, not to mention the number and quality of the staff (like Esse Baharmast, Alfred Kleinaitis, Paul Tamberino, etc.), removes any doubt that the U.S. Soccer Federation isn't serious about producing world-class referees.

Having one of the full-time refs there was a special treat for me. I cannot tell you how much I admire the fact we are one of the few countries to have salaried soccer referees. I can now imagine what it must felt like for the Galaxy players when David Beckham first came on board. Not only did they get to meet David, but they got to work with and learn from him. That's how I felt about Terry Vaughn.


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