The fourth of July will always be a significant date for the United States of America, and it’s certainly one that PRO’s Rubiel Vazquez will never forget.
For on Independence Day, 2017, the official led out Minnesota United and Colombus Crew at TCF Bank Stadium for his first assignment as a center referee in Major League Soccer.
After making his way through the ranks, Vazquez was promoted to the PRO roster in 2016, and his maiden MLS assignment was the latest landmark in his journey. So, how was it?
“On a personal level, my first game went well,” Vazquez told proreferees.com. “It was very competitive and it helped that the teams came to play. I was very happy with the outcome.
“I was extremely excited – this is something I’ve been dreaming of for a long time and it finally became a reality.”
While Vazquez was new to the role in the MLS middle, he has plenty of experience gained from refereeing in the NASL and USL, as well as assisting his colleagues as a fourth official.
He also had support from a knowledgeable crew. The two assistant referees alongside him were Craig Lowry and Jeff Muschik, while Ricardo Salazar was on fourth duties in Minnesota.
“The experience as a fourth official helps me a lot. I get to see how my colleagues manage players and coaches at this level, look at their positioning, how they read the game, and then try to apply that into my game.
“My crew was amazing. It was great having guys that have over 600 games of experience between all of them – that helped me a lot.
“I was confident that if I needed help, they were there for me. One of the biggest pieces of advice from my crew was to stay calm and relaxed; I thought about that throughout the whole game and that helped me.”