Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On the Road Again...

I am staying in the Salt Lake airport Hilton for the next couple of days and am here as a 4th official for the MLS game between the visiting San Jose Earthquakes and hosting Real Salt Lake. It will be Jasen Anno’s first game back after a three year sabbatical.

I flew in late last night after a three-hour delay and arrived around 11:45 p.m. It was a good thing I had dinner before I got on the plane because I was ready for bed. It was just my luck, when I was checking in the person behind the front desk couldn’t find my reservation. I just ended up called my roommate; I thought I was going to wake him up but fortunately, he was still up and around.

Today is game day. I got up early (8 a.m.) and headed to the concierge lounge for breakfast. As I was having coffee, a bagel, and fruit, Jasen called to say he had just landed. I invited him for breakfast so we could talk about tonight's game. The hotel didn’t have a room ready for Jason so we spent the morning in the lounge catching up with one another. While chatting, I came up with a great idea; I figured I would interview him for the blog so you can experience what he has done to get ready for the game tonight.

So meet Jasen Anno. Jasen is from San Antonio, Texas where he is employed as a high school teacher. He has been involved with playing and refereeing soccer for the past 15 years. Jason was first introduced to the beautiful game as a player. He started as a youth player in the San Antonio area before moving on to amateur and college levels. Jasen started refereeing while still a student. So let’s spend a few minutes with Jasen and have a Q&A.

RS: So, what have you done to prepare for not only this game but the entire MLS season?
JA: First and foremost is the physical preparation for me, which then carries over to my mental preparation and makes me stronger and more confident for the big games.

RS: After taking some time off from refereeing, has your outlook changed on the game?
JA: Soccer is an extremely important part of my life and my family’s life, but what I see as the difference in my attitude concerning the controllable versus the uncontrollable factors. I can control my preparation, how I referee the game, and how I act off the field of play. What can not be controlled are game assignments, for example you could have had the best season of your career and still not get the final because of factors out of your control.

RS: What do you see in the future for your refereeing career?
JA: Obviously, the first step is being a consistent referee in MLS. There is always the hope and want of the next level but as I mentioned before, I will control what I can control and that is my performances.

RS: If you could tell the players one thing before the game, what would you tell them?
JA: Remember, we are on the same team!

RS: What are you thoughts on being the only non-FIFA representative tonight?
JA: For this game, it gives me even more confidence to be able to have a great performance knowing the experience is with me. However, I am the captain of the ship and that is the attitude and demeanor I will take with this great crew. I will ask them, however, if I start steering the ship wrong to put me back on course.

Thanks Jasen for spending a few minutes to blog. All the best for the game tonight and the rest of the season.

Ricardo Salazar periodically provides a look into life as a U.S. Soccer Full-Time Referee.

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