Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Helpful Note from Ricardo Salazar

I have seen this all too frequently when I both played and coached at the collegiate level. Now I am sending out a warning to you so you don’t get caught: Most athletes don’t realize how many calories they are consuming during the season and don’t adjust their diet when the season is over. It is important that when taking a break (one or two days off) we are mindful of what we are putting into our bodies. We can not continue to eat like we were during the peak time of the season.

During the MLS season the referees are in a similar situation. I want to point out our game day routine (not everyone is the same so some may very). For me, when I have a 7:30 p.m. kickoff I have my pre game meal four hours prior. If you do the math, the game takes two hours and we are in the stadium two hours before kickoff. Then, we are doing our post-game routine in the stadium, including but not limited to writing the match report, reviewing the game, speaking with the referee inspector and getting cleaned up. It might be 11 p.m. before we are able to have dinner, and believe me after working hard you are ready for some food. During a high level game, the referee can burn 1500 to 1900 calories. Well, when I am not working or during the off season, I try not to consume anything after 8 p.m.

There are a few things a referee can control: fitness and consumption. Everyone is different and you have to know your own body as to what it needs to be at your peak performance. Refereeing at the highest level deals a lot with the game flow and identifying misconducts. The referee must prepare him/herself so you are performing at your maximal capacity.

Check back as I will be writing on how I prepare myself during the week to be at maximal capacity for game time.

Ricardo Salazar

US Soccer Referee