Allen Chapman, second from left, with Cameron Blanchard, Robert Sibiga, Eric Weisbrod and Kyle Atkins
It’s been a memorable and somewhat historic year in the career of Allen Chapman.
In what is his fifth year on the PRO roster as a center referee, Chapman took control of 14 regular season games in MLS.
His officiating journey in 2016 also took him away from the field, with the official playing his part in a piece of football history, acting as a video referee in the USL.
And then came the crowning honor – a first final for the referee – when he was handed the whistle for the NASL Championship game between New York Cosmos and Indy Eleven.
“When I received the assignment I was very grateful and honored for the opportunity to do my first professional final,” Chapman told proreferees.com.
“Fortunately I was able to referee both teams during the regular season so I was familiar with them. As a crew we had the chance to study their previous regular season matches against each other as well as their semifinal matches.
“Having worked with assistant referees Kyle Atkins and Cameron Blanchard several times during the season, we were very comfortable as a crew, so the approach was not significantly different. Besides understanding the magnitude of the final, we kept our routine as close to normal as possible – weekly communication, fitness, pre-game meal and instruction, and so on.”
The game went beyond the 90 minutes, and extra-time, with the scoreline finishing just as it had started at Belson Stadium – 0-0.
A penalty shoot-out followed, with Cosmos holding their nerve to win 4-2 on spot-kicks to make it back-to-back titles. After a long season, Chapman and his crew were more than ready for that extension, reserving praise for PRO and the training regimes in place.
Next up for Chapman, it’s simply a case of taking a well-earned break before the new season comes around once again.
“We felt the game went really well and we prepared not only for extra-time and penalties, but also for unexpected situations. I’m especially grateful for Matt Hawkey, PRO’s sports scientist, who makes every effort to ensure we are physically prepared.
“On a personal level, the match was a rewarding experience and the crew [Kyle, Cameron, Robert Sibiga, and Eric Weisbrod] worked really well together.
“I hold myself and my performance to a very high standard; this memorable season was filled with several challenging matches and decisions which I know will lead to my further development.
“After a bit of mental and physical recovery, I look forward to preparing for another challenging season and really focusing on each match, along with the continued implementation of VAR, including training my peers.”