Friday, August 15, 2008

A Night for Brazil

For most of our Quarterfinal match, Brazil was in full control of the ball and the play over rival Norway. After the first goal was scored on a rocket from Daniela at about 30 yards, you could see the Norwegians lose confidence. That was until the 81st minute when the Brazilian GK (the reserve GK) took down a Norwegian player near the touchline and Norway scored from the resulting Penalty Kick (By the way, any ideas why that was not a red card for DOGSO??). From then we had another 13 minutes of strong play.

Overall, the teams came to play and we as a referee team were able to control the game with voice and whistles rather than cards. I am really proud of my crew and honored to have worked this Olympics with Veronica & Marlene.

I am hoping you are following along with the USA WNT and saw that after 4 hours they too prevailed, in this case over Canada. That being said the USA women’s referee crew will more than likely not be eligible for a semi-final. As a good AR knows, we’ll just have to wait and see for the future.

Thank you everyone for all your support. It truly means a lot to us.

Best from Beijing

– Kari

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

USA in the Quarterfinals...

...and not just the WNT, USA will also have a team officials in the Quarter Finals representing! August 15th Kari, Veronica, Marlene and Dianne (of Guyana) will be the 3rd team for Brazil v Norway.

This is bound to be an exciting match. Brazil is on a hot streak, winning their group in the first round, in fact, scoring a hat trick yesterday versus Nigeria. Norway, as you may remember, is the team that beat the USA in the opening match 2-0.

Everything is on the line, as the winning team secures a spot in the semi-finals and the losing team returns home.

You'll all be with us in spirit as we work hard to be the best team on the field.

Kari, Marlene & Veronica

Daily Training-What We Do On Our "Days Off"

Many of you must be wondering, what exactly do we do when we are not working on matches. We actually have a tight schedule with many different things incorporated into our daily program. Every non-game day includes physical training. The physical training is scheduled is modified before and after game day to optimize our game fitness. Our fitness training alternates between workouts in the hotel gym and workouts on the field. All training sessions and games are done with a heart rate monitor with the data downloaded and available for our review. The concentration on the heart rate monitors has made us more conscious of the target rate instead of just going out and training as hard as we feel like that day.


Days that involve physical training in the gym are normally followed by a session of mental preparation. In the gym, we do cardio, weight training, and balancing (for injury prevention) exercises. This has also helped with teamwork and cooperation as we are sharing a small number of machines. These workout sessions can be quite a fun experience as many of the women can be quite comical. We will remember the fun times as much as the new exercises.

The mental preparation revolves around learning techniques for relaxation and visualization. There is a high degree of pressure on referees to perform on the matches. We also know that clips are selected from all the matches to be shown to our peers during debriefings and the actions and decisions are used for development purposes. Therefore, learning mental relaxationtechniques and ways to cope with mistakes on and off the field is very useful, as we know that learning to cope with mistakes and on and off the field is a vital tool to becoming a better referee. Initially, this type of mental preparation was a bit unexpected, but at the same time, we see the value in the training as how we deal with internal struggles positively can improve our performance. We feel very fortunate to have a well-rounded training program to help us improve in mind and in body.



Our outdoor physical training varies from day-to-day. Each session begins with dynamic stretching and movements and is followed by the physical training portion, and then followed by practical sessions. In one of our assistant referee oriented sessions, the physical training portion involved sprints from mid-field to the eighteen yard box, jogging to the goal line, side stepping back to the eighteen and sprinting back to midfield. This was followed by a walk across the field and a repetition on the other side of the field. Sprints on both sides of the field constituted one lap. We did 5 laps, rested for 3-4 minutes, and did 5 more. Wow! This was tough considering how hot and humid the weather was. This session was video taped and our fitness instructor took turns running the sprints with different pairs of people to encourage us to run even faster. Being competitive people, this definitely worked to push us. The cool thing was that we were able to run this as a pair because there were times each of us needed to talk the other through the workout to get the right pacing.

The practical sessions have been a really good way to improve the team work with referees and ARs. They have also been good at replicating situations on the field to improve the concentration and decision making of the referee team. We are really grateful that they have focused so much on the decisions made by the assistant referees which give us instant feedback that we cannot get any other way. We have been very pleased with these sessions, as we feel that these training tools are helping us to meet the expectations of a FIFA tournament. We hope to implement these drills at home so that others can also get the benefits of our training.

Finally, we have debriefings in combined group session with all the men and women officials after every game. These sessions can be a bit nerve-wracking as everyone is hoping that they are not shown doing something wrong. It has been inspiring though to see some of the more senior officials volunteering situations in their games that may not have gone the way they hoped so that everyone can learn from them. Theyʼre courage and maturity have shown us some real leadership and given us a great example of behavior at a FIFA tournament.

Veronica & Marlene

Monday, August 11, 2008

Kermit Update

Well it has been a very good trip so far. I have been fortunate enough to see the Forbidden City and go to the Birds Nest before everyone else was there and get some good pictures. Daily physical training has been good and the on the field technical session have been good because they are working on situations dealing with team work as well as working on offside situations that can happen and just making sure we are concentrating on the offside and not losing focus. On Aug. 10 we performed training where we simulated running up and down the line changing directions while watching the instructor and performing the tasks. Example was running 10 yards turn and move back up field sprint down 15 as the whistle blows stop and signal offside in one of 3 area depending on what he was showing us. talk to you all soon from China.

Kermit

Nearing the end of the first round

The final assignments are out for the first round women's matches today (Aug. 10)

As you know team USA had Brazil v Germany on the first day of the tournament. We received positive feedback from our assessors and colleagues alike.

You probably figured out we didnʼt get a match on the second day (sans post); a nice few days of recovery. And now for the final day of matches in the group stages Kari has been assigned the 4th official of China v Argentina. Marlene and Veronica will be enjoying a few more days of recovery.

Keep your fingers crossed for us for the next rounds of matches.

Go Team USA


Kari Seitz

Ni Hao from China

Well it has been a very good trip so far. I have been fortunate enough to see the forbidden city and go to the birds nest before everyone else was there and get some good pictures. Daily physical training has been good and the on the field technical session have been good because they are working on situations dealing with team work as well as working on offside situations that can happen and just making sure we are concentrating on the offside and not losing focus. 8-10 we performed training where we simulated running up and down the line changing directions while watching the instructor and performing the tasks. Example was running 10 yards turn and move back up field sprint down 15 as the whistle blows stop and signal offside in one of 3 area depending on what he was showing us. talk to you all soon from China

Kermit

Sunday, August 10, 2008

8-8-08

We travel back to Beijing in hopes of getting to the Opening Cermonies. As you have read before disappointment set in for our trio. We had to stay in the hotel and watch from the TV. We did not have tickets and since Jair had to leave for Shanghai on 8-9-08, so he had to stay. We were not back when the bus left so we had to stay at the hotel.

So for first match, great game, great experience, great time.

Jair and Kermit