Friday, October 12, 2007

U.S. Soccer Development Academy Showcase

To be a participant in the first U.S. Soccer Development Academy Fall Showcase at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., was a great experience as a referee fortunate enough to be selected to officiate matches involving elite soccer programs from various parts of the United States. The mentorship and instruction provided by elite U.S. Soccer administrators and FIFA referees: Esse Baharmast, Paul Tamberino, Alfred Kleinaitis, Heinz Wolmerath and Terry Vaughn proved invaluable and set the stage for top notch performances by all Referee Academy officials.

The level of matches and sportsmanship demonstrated by the participants of this Academy was extraordinary, as was the camaraderie of all the participating referees. Personally, I was fortunate to officiate two matches during this tournament which tested my abilities as a soccer official. As a first-year National Referee, I was able to work with a range of extremely talented young referees as well as seasoned National Referee candidates.

My assignment on Saturday, Oct. 6, between Crossfire (Wash.) and Atlanta FC (Ga.) provided a high level of play and a showcase of players' abilities. Hopefully, those players will one day display their skills as members of the U.S. National Team.

This program was a great experience and hopefully will lead to the development and advancement of young elite soccer officials within Southern California and the United States as a whole.

All the Best,

Alfredo Munoz Jr.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fall Showcase Weekend


The first U.S. Soccer Fall Development Academy Showcase at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., was a great success.

A total of 38 games were played at The Home Depot Center from Saturday, Oct. 6, until Monday, Oct. 8. The overall organization from U.S. Soccer was excellent.

On our side, the referee side, we had our own Academy going. Participating referees came from all over Southern California and were selected by Nasser and Paul. We had National Referees, grade 5 and 6 state referees and some Grade 7 officials as well. All of the referees performed very well in this tournament. No one red card was necessary in all of the 38 games!

The discipline level and the standard of play were very high. While all officials impressed with good attitude, fitness and teamwork, a few of them - in my opinion - need to be specially mentioned.

Excellent performance by Alex Mariscal and all of his siblings. They are an example for all referees.
Also above standard and excellent: Israel Fernandez, with a first class attitude, presence and superior fitness. At age 23, he has a great future in U.S. Soccer.
Daniel Radford, a 21-year-old Grade 5, is also in that same category.
F. Orozco and the Cisneros brothers are not far behind.

The last two games on Monday, Oct. 8, were officiated by Radford and Fernandez in the middle. The games involved the U.S. Under-16 and Under-18 Men's National Teams against the Under-16 and Under-18 Richmond Kickers. While the U.S. U-16 MNT ran away with a 7-0 score, the U.S. U-18 MNT had to fight in order to get a somewhat lucky 1-0 victory. Again, in those games the officials had an excellent performance.

It was a pleasure to be a part of this tournament and be able to work together with the U.S. Soccer Referee Department and the very young and promising officials from Southern California.

All the best.