PRO officials have been busy on the domestic front since the return of the soccer season at the beginning of March, but their education and game time isn’t confined to just America and Canada.
During preseason and the early stages of 2017, PRO staff have travelled far and wide, including the likes of Switzerland for the UEFA CORE program and Portugal for the Algarve Cup.
For Drew Fischer, Costa Rica was the destination. The competition? CONCACAF’s Under-20 Championship, which took place in late February.
Despite all the air miles racked up by the officials, both domestically and internationally, they manage to stay in prime condition ahead of each assignment. That’s testimony to the work that PRO does behind the scenes, tailoring training to the needs of each individual.
“Appointments in CONCACAF can often require a full day’s travel at the best of times,” Canadian Fischer told proreferees.com. “Travel is, in some ways, a constant battle against fatigue.
“It can be challenging when these events are essentially the start of your season, too. Coming off a break means you have to work that little bit extra to be ready for difficult games.
“Living in Calgary, I also have some of the longest travel for international and MLS games. PRO – in particular Matt Hawkey – go to great lengths to ensure that the extra load that travel represents is built into training plans so that I can be at my best for every appointment.”
Officiating on the international stage just goes to show the possibilities that a career in refereeing can bring. That’s why, when not busy with PRO, CSA and international schedules, Fischer finds the time to help develop aspiring officials.
While Fischer is hopeful that the hard work in Calgary will aid young referees and sport in his home city, he is certain that a recent development in the world of international football would provide a huge boost to the nation as a whole.
Along with Mexico and the USA, Canada have launched a joint bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026. Should that bid be successful, and soccer’s most prized international competition arrives on Canadian shores, Fischer believes the impact would be massive.
“I stay involved with the training and development of the next wave of top officials in Calgary. Along with National Instructors and other top officials, we have established a training group of 15 to 20 up-and-coming officials.
“It helps to raise awareness of the possibilities that exist. It shows the younger officials that there is a path to international refereeing that starts in their own backyard, and I hope that my experiences can help them develop and ultimately become the best referees they can be.
“Being a World Cup host would be huge for Canada. We have hosted other soccer events in the past, each one a big success in drawing further interest to the sport, and the World Cup would be the pinnacle.
“It would be a big boost for professional soccer in Canada which would spur further investment in the game – investment that will ultimately attract the next generation to the sport.”