The Generation adidas Cup is in full flow in Frisco and the event is a key part in the training and education of the video assistant referee system for PRO’s officials.
The 10th edition of the tournament, hosted by FC Dallas, kicked off on April 7 with 13 elite international clubs and 19 MLS academy teams in action at the Toyota Soccer Center.
PRO’s roster of referees and a number of Development Group officials are in Texas with VAR being incorporated at the tournament for the first time, in select group stage matches and in the semifinals and finals.
“The more time we are exposed to using the system, the better we will get at it, and the GA Cup is a great opportunity for our guys to utilize the VAR system,” PRO’s Howard Webb, who is heading up the training at the nine-day youth competition, said.
“Alongside the matches, we are hosting classroom sessions for reviews, and also give to the officials the opportunity to spend more time familiarizing themselves with the system.
“We are looking at things like the accuracy of identification of when a review is required – what should and shouldn’t be checked – and how long it takes to reach the decision.
“We have also been focusing on the way we communicate with each other, and the consistency of what is a clear and obvious error, which is when the VAR system is implemented.
“GA Cup forms a key part of our implementation plan and, alongside the expansion of VAR testing in USL, this is another big step in our officials’ training and education.”
As well as training and education for officials, Webb has also been educating the participating clubs.
U-17 teams from such prestigious clubs as Real Madrid, River Plate, Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt, and Brazilian side Flamengo are at the tournament, and Webb has been passing on his VAR knowledge so they knew what to expect from the system and PRO’s officials.
“VAR is not checking if a decision is correct, but check if it’s clearly wrong,” he added.
“VAR won’t cut out the subjective nature of decisions. It won’t change the fact that people will disagree with some decisions. But what VAR will do is eradicate the bad errors; the errors I used to make as a referee!
“I’m really looking forward to getting to a stage when our guys are really confident and comfortable with the system, which we’re all hoping will have a positive impact on the game.”