Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bennett and Seitz Named to Represent U.S. Soccer as Referees at 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup

U.S. Soccer referees Jennifer Bennett and Kari Seitz have been named to the final list of referees for the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China. The announcement was made on June 22 by FIFA Vice President Angel Maria Villar Llona, the chair of the FIFA Referees Committee.

Overall, FIFA named 12 referees and 23 assistant referees from across the globe, with an additional six referees assigned as reserves. The U.S. is the only country to be represented by two referees.

"I'm extremely excited. I'm honored and fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue a dream of mine and to participate in a game I love at the highest level," said Bennett, who has been a FIFA referee since 2002. "I think it's a huge statement and a testament to our commitment to making our program one of the best in the world. A single ref doesn't make it to the World Cup on their own. It takes a team of people who are willing to take the time and make the investment in that referee. Having two referees at the World Cup is phenomenal for U.S. soccer and is really representative of the quality of the programs that we have in place."

The selection process included intense scrutiny of the world's best women's soccer officials at the last three Algarve Cups (2005, 2006 and 2007), the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship in Russia, a training camp in the Canary Islands in January 2007 and a final period of preparation and training at the home of FIFA in Zurich in May.

The tournament referees were chosen after completing an intensive training program aimed at optimizing their performances at the FIFA Women's World Cup. In addition to participating in practical training sessions, the referees were tested on the Laws of the Game and the English language. The applicants also had to pass strenuous physical and medical examinations.

"This is the most excited I've ever been," said Seitz, who officiated at the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women's World Cups. "This is an incredible honor. This is the most stringent qualification process to date and to continue to prove yourself time and again is really a testament to the hard work, dedication and support that we get. It is a particular honor because of the time and effort that went into it."

The FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007 will take place in Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Tianjin and Wuhan from Sept. 10-30, 2007.

See the full list of officials at:

Monday, June 25, 2007

Far West Regionals Day 5

Saturday, June 23, Day 5

The Semi Finals began at 7am today.

These were some big, tough games our Referee crews took on in Las Vegas on the hottest day of the week no less.

It required everyone's full attention to have the positive outcomes we got so full credit goes to the crews on these games and the others who were either finished for the day or held in reserve who came out to cheer their fellow officials on.

It was really gratifying to see so many Administrators, Coaches, technical area staff members, spectators and parents complimenting the Referees, AR's and 4th Officials after these hard fought matches. Our Referees deserved that praise and recognition for their efforts.

After the last semi final game had finished, we made our way back to the hotel for our concluding instructional session. Our meeting centered on how to reduce the tension in the technical area and do a better job of gaining the players and coaches cooperation. We shared a number of ideas for how this can be accomplished. I think everyone learned a lot in this session. Hopefully it helped for those working the finals the next day.

Also at this session awards were handed out. Unfortunately not everyone could have their name announced to move on. The Region IV administrators made their selections and everyone put their hands together to wish them well as they begin to prepare for the next competition.

Saturday night, National Assessor, Coach Mentor and Tournament Lead Assessor, Ali Saheli and I were invited to join the Cal North Referees and Administrators for dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. You guys were a lot of fun and we certainly enjoyed your company.

Thank you Cal North Administrators, Referees and Assessors!

The Final games of the competition were held on Sunday. You can read about the Regional winners at the region IV website

Thanks are due to US Soccer for our appointment to this great event, Region IV staff, the unbelievably dedicated volunteer crew who manned the fields, parking lots, information booths, hotel, cars, etc all week long. But most of all, Ali and I want to thank the Referees and Assessors who took the time out of their lives to help cover the games at this event. Without you guys the week wouldn't have been so memorable nor as much fun. Your instructors were in awe watching you guys day in and day out performing at such a high level despite the conditions. Did I ever mention that Referees shoes were actually melting during the games due to the unbelievable heat (measured at 157* one day) radiating from the turf fields? It's true. More than one Referee had to go out to buy new shoes because their shoes melted.

In closing, a simple thank you doesn't seem sufficient but until next time, "Thank You" from the bottom of our hearts. Keep up the great work US Referees, you make us proud!

Far West Regionals Day 4

Friday, Day 4

After a day off from the games and the heat on Thursday, and the "All Referee Dinner" hosted by Nevada, we were all ready to get back to work Friday morning. 5:55am the 7am crews were reporting for quarter finals duty.

Friday's games were intense and hard fought by the teams. Fortunately our Referees were up to the task. We got excellent performances from our crews on these critical matches and were able to leave the fields afterwards with heads held high, leaving difficult decisions for the assignors, whom to choose for the semi finals? With so many excellent choices it had to be very difficult for them

Our instruction Friday centered around the brand new position paper released that morning titled "Quick Kick." It was a very interesting conversation where everyone was required to participate, first in small groups at their tables and then all together as one large group. We looked at the accompanying video clip a number of times to make certain everyone had a clear understanding of the interpretation and then dissected the position paper. We completely covered the mechanics of how to ensure this situation is managed correctly. Have you looked at it yet?

Friday night the Instructors were invited to join the Washington Referee delegation for a pizza feed at a local restaurant. You guys were GREAT company and your Instructors really appreciated the invitation and your fellowship. Thank You from both of us for a great evening!