A number of officials were recognized for their 2016 achievements at PRO’s January training camp, and more personal landmarks are on the horizon this year.
The highest honors went to referee Jair Marrufo and assistant referee Corey Rockwell, who were both given recognition after working their 200th MLS Regular Season games during 2016.
First MLS Cup Playoffs game:
Alan Kelly, Eduardo Mariscal, Robert Sibiga, Danny Thornberry, Jason White
100th MLS Regular Season game:
Claudiu Badea, Jeff Hosking, Sean Hurd, Edvin Jurisevic, Brian Poeschel
200th MLS Regular Season game:
Jair Marrufo, Corey Rockwell
Referee Marrufo worked his 200th game in the middle when New York Red Bulls hosted FC Dallas in April of last year, while Red Bull Arena was also the stage for Rockwell’s number 200 in the same month, when Orlando paid a visit.
“It was a special moment to be recognized with so many people present, particularly The IFAB’s Technical Director David Elleray, CONCACAF’s Brian Hall, and all the other guests,” assistant referee Rockwell said, reflecting on the presentation at camp.
“I think I can pretty much remember every single one of my games.
“If someone mentions one MLS team against another when I worked with, let’s say, Baldomero Toledo, I can remember everything about that game.”
And the best game? Well, that was actually quite recently…
“Toronto FC versus Montreal Impact last year, the Eastern Conference Championship second leg of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
“That’s the sort of game you want to retire after and go out on. I still think about that match regularly. It was such an intense occasion.
“I also like the firsts. I was on Ted Unkel’s first game, Fotis Bazakos’ first game, Nima Saghafi’s second game – those are also the memorable ones.”
Rockwell – the 2011 MLS Assistant Referee of the Year – is now ready for another season on the line alongside his PRO colleagues, and his 11th year on the FIFA panel.
And 2017 is set to be another year filled with personal landmarks for our officials.
Kevin Stott is among those, with the experienced referee on 294 MLS Regular Season games having received his first assignment back in the inaugural season of 1996.
Fellow referee Chris Penso is on 98 matches, while Allen Chapman is 14 away from 100, with 86 top-level assignments under his belt. Ismail Elfath isn’t far behind, currently on 82.
In the assistant referee ranks, Frank Anderson is 20 away from his 200th MLS Regular Season game.
Jeff Muschik is the closest to his 100th game, on 96, while Joe Fletcher (83), Mike Kampmeinert (84) and Mike Rottersman (85) are also set to close in on personal milestones during 2017. And that’s also the case for fellow ARs Philippe Briere (82) and Brian Dunn (80).