The Professional Referee Organization’s 2017 roster has been confirmed, with one addition to this season’s list of officials.
Nick Uranga is the fresh face among the PRO ranks and he comes into the new campaign on the back of a highly successful 2016.
🙌// Welcome Nick Uranga.
The AR is the new addition to the #PRO roster in 2017.
“Cheers to a new journey & moving towards the next step.” pic.twitter.com/guCKqLXfkp
— PRO (@PROreferees) January 29, 2017
Uranga made his Major League Soccer debut in Week 25, running the line in the game between Columbus Crew and San Jose Earthquakes, going on to make one further appearance before the regular season came to a close.
What followed were two landmark assignments for the Assistant Referee, being handed the flag for the NWSL Championship Final and the USL Cup Final and earning his call-up to this year’s roster.
Greg Barkey, PRO’s Manager of Assistant Referees, said: “We had been tracking Nick’s progress for the last couple of years, so we invited him to the Generation Adidas tournament and he rose to the top of our list.
“Additionally, he was doing very well in his NASL and USL assignments so we gave him two MLS matches to see how he would do under more pressure and he passed that test. Part of Nick’s progress over those years can be attributed to his post-game self-analysis and critique as he demonstrated a willingness to improve and learn.
“Nick has what we are looking for in a PRO assistant referee; he has speed and quickness in his movement on the line, his fitness is unquestioned and he makes good decisions. To top that all off, he happens to be a nice guy.”
Uranga made his first appearance at PRO preseason camp in January, passing the fitness with flying colours alongside his colleagues in Pasadena, CA.
Kevin Stott was one of those in attendance, and the experienced official is no stranger to preseason training. Stott was back preparing for his 22nd season at the top of US soccer – a feat he’ll share with fellow ever-present AR Craig Lowry this term.
The 2017 roster is without a number of familiar faces from last year following the retirement of six officials at the end of the previous campaign.
Chris Strickland, Sean Hurd, James Conlee, Mathieu Bourdeau, Jaime Herrera and Tyler Ploeger are the officials who have stepped down from their roles.