I am very honored to have received this appointment to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Brazil. It is an honor for me to have this opportunity to represent CONCACAF and US Soccer at this prestigious tournament. I want to share my experiences with all of you.
- Sunday, September 21, 2008
This was the scheduled arrival day for all referees. My flight arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the morning, with my travel beginning in the early afternoon the day before. Upon arrival I waited for two other officials to arrive and then we were shuttled to the hotel, which was about an hour from the airport. The hotel is beautiful and the accommodations have been first class. At check-in I received an envelope with my tournament credentials and the detailed daily program schedule for each day in the entire tournament. At both lunch and dinner, I enjoyed meeting and spending time with the other referees who were arriving. A total of 32 referees and 2 alternates, each representing a different country with the exception of Brazil (who has a referee and an alternate), were appointed to the tournament.
- Monday, September 22, 2008
The day began with breakfast at 7a.m., which was followed by the first fitness session at 9 a.m., led by our team of fitness trainers. The group walked outside the hotel, and stretched in an area that was just adjacent to the beach – a really beautiful site. Then we were led two-by-two down the running/bike paths along the road next to the beach. This was a picturesque backdrop for our 20 minute jog. The final stage of our fitness training was stretching. The entire activity was about 45 minutes.
The classroom sessions began at 11 a.m. and went to 5 p.m. In the morning we had two presentations led by a team of FIFA Instructors. One was on the History of FIFA and the other was on Administration Logistics by a FIFA referee department administrator. The group had an hour lunch break. In the afternoon, the topics covered specific Futsal Laws of the Game.
- Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Our schedule for each day is roughly the same. We traveled by charter bus and vans for about an hour to Miecimo da Silva Sports Complex. This center is used by the local people to participate in a variety of sports and fitness classes. The sports complex has several volleyball, tennis and basketball courts, several futsal pitches, a full size football field surrounded by a track and spectator area, swimming and diving venue and an indoor multi-sport stadium. It housed a variety of events for the Pan American Games in 2007. We trained indoors for about an hour. This was followed by a practical field session which lasted an hour. The purpose of the field sessions is to put the theory into practice. For example our activities today included practicing our signals and field positioning.
The goal of the practical and theory sessions is to standardize the interpretations and applications within the Laws of the Game. Upon our return to the hotel, we had lunch. The afternoon sessions began at 3 p.m. and lasted until 6 p.m. One of the most anticipated topics was the administration of the fitness test. The fitness training team went through all the details. The futsal fitness test consists of a 1,000 meter endurance run (in 4 minutes) on the track. Then a speed test of 4 x 10 meters (in 10. seconds). Then an agility test which covers 80 meters in a variety of movements (30 forward, 10 sideways to right, 10 sideways left, 10 backwards, and 20 forward) in 20.5 seconds. The sprint and agility tests are repeated.
- Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The group was split into three groups. I was in group three, which allowed me to sleep in a little. The bus departed at 7 a.m. with groups one and two. The van departed at 8:30 a.m. with group three. After the hour ride and upon arrival we went inside and supported the others as they were finishing up the sprint and agility tests. We cheered and encouraged them to finish strong. They did the same when they were finished. All participants passed the test.
The fitness and practical sessions took place at Marina Barra Club, a private club, which was much closer to the hotels (about 10-minute ride). This allowed up more time for the practical training sessions. The club offered multiple activities for its members, such as clay and hard service tennis courts, beach volleyball court, two futsal pitches outside and one futsal pitch inside and a pool and fitness center. Since it was raining, we trained on the indoor pitch.