As activity ramps up ahead of the 2018 season, PRO’s annual preseason camp in Pasadena, California, marked a significant stage in officials’ preparations for the new campaign, at the end of January.
New GM Howard Webb opened proceedings, welcoming all PRO officials and support staff to the event, along with representatives from FIFA, CONCACAF, US Soccer, Canada Soccer Association, Liga MX, MLS and Professional Soccer Referees Association.
Director of Performance and Sport Science, Matt Hawkey, and his team put officials through their paces at Citrus College, Glendora, in the shadows of the spectacular San Gabriel Mountains on Saturday morning, before returning to the classroom for a variety of sessions over the weekend.
Manager of Senior Assistant Referees and Video Review Operations Greg Barkey and former Director of Training and Education Paul Rejer kicked-off the afternoon with a review of the 2017 season.
Referees, assistant referees, fourth officials and assessors split into separate groups to discuss role-specific topics throughout the weekend, while also benefitting from detailed group sessions on Video Review, concussion protocols and changes to the laws of the game.
General Manager of Liga MX Professional Soccer Referees Arturo Brizio Carter delivered a meaningful look at life as an official, and the characteristics required to be a success. It was a theme complemented by the keynote presentation, which was executed by Dr Ken Ravizza from California State University, Fullerton. He evaluated the fundamentals of the ‘mental game’ and discussed the ingredients required to ensure peak performance in elite sport.
Retiring officials, both from FIFA and the PRO roster, were recognized, as were those who have earned promotions and reached milestones in their career last year. Presentations and tributes to the outgoing Director of Training and Development Paul Rejer, and PRO’s GM since its incorporation in 2013, Peter Walton, were also made before the weekend camp was brought to a close on Sunday, by Webb, who had also highlighted PRO’s key points of emphasis for 2018, during the course of the morning.
Officials then returned home: Next stop, preseason games.
“The preseason camp is an important event in the PRO calendar,” explained Webb. “It provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the previous season, celebrate what we did well and focus on where we can improve.
“It also gives us the chance to look forward to the season ahead and share important information relating to any changes. We successfully achieved these aims at the 2018 camp, which was an important step in our preparations for the new season.”