PRO marked the start of gearing up for the 2021 campaign by staging its annual preseason camp this weekend.
This was the first preseason event to be conducted entirely via an online video platform, and it began with a welcome from PRO GM Howard Webb. He delivered an overview of a challenging year and recognized several personal milestones that were achieved by match officials last year.
This was followed by a formal review of last season – an extended session lead by Webb, Mark Geiger (Director of Senior Match Officials), Greg Barkey (Manager of Video Review), and Alan Black (Head of Coaching, Education and Evaluation).
Saturday afternoon saw the first education session of the weekend, as attendees split into groups to go through changes to The IFAB Laws of the Game, as well as evaluating the processes and operation behind Video Review, and assessing the best practices that should be carried into the upcoming campaign. Saturday ended with updates from the finance and human resource teams.
The education subjects were further explored in two additional breakout sessions on Sunday, separated by a meeting that covered logistics and IT, looking at topics from travel to COVID-19 protocols, and updates regarding the in-house online platforms that support officials.
The camp then welcomed a series of external guests, including Kyle Sherry (MLS Medical Manager), Jeff Agoos (MLS Senior Vice President of Competition, Operations, Medical Administration), and Jason Arnold (Vice President of Sport Business at Capelli Sport – PRO’s new Official and Exclusive Uniform and Apparel Supplier).
The penultimate session was delivered by Tom Beckvermit (Director of Sports Science), who explained his department’s key messages for officials as they head into two important months of preseason preparation.
Webb then wrapped up proceedings with some key takeaways and the overarching messages from PRO management.
“We would like to thank all the PRO staff, officials, and special guests who gave up their weekend to attend,” said Webb. “It was a different type of camp in different times. We all wish we were able to meet in person, but everyone’s dedication ensured we were able to host a successful preseason camp for the first time virtually.
“Camp is always an important part of the officials’ preseason development. We were able to reflect on the previous year with pride and look ahead to building on that success in the upcoming season, ensuring we can be in the best possible position for the return of soccer in the spring.”