Ismail Elfath: “It’s an honor to be in charge of the All-Star game”
PRO referee Ismail Elfath says it is a privilege to have been assigned to July 29’s MLS All-Star game in Colorado.
The All-Stars will take on Tottenham Hotspur at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, with Elfath overseeing the game alongside assistants Jeff Muschik and Brian Dunn; fourth official Sorin Stoica and fifth official Michael Rottersman.
It will be Elfath’s first time refereeing the All-Stars and an English Premier League team but he feels fully prepared, particularly after last year’s experience of the showpiece game, when he acted as fourth official for the visit of German giants Bayern Munich.
“There are two big assignments in every season that referees aspire to get to – the All-Star game and the MLS Cup,” he told proreferees.com.
“Having been assigned as fourth official to both of them over the last few years I know how much of an honor it is to be a part of it.
“It’s a privilege and an honor to be in charge of the All-Star game as a referee, and it will be an absolute pleasure to referee Tottenham, which is such a historic club.
“I was lucky enough to be fourth official last year when they came over to Seattle, so I have a little bit of an acquaintance with the staff there and I watch the EPL every weekend so I know how to deal with the players.
“It’s going to be quite an occasion to be on the field with those guys and the MLS All-Stars.“
So far this season Elfath has refereed 12 games, making him the joint-second most used referee in MLS, alongside Allen Chapman, Jose Carlos Rivero and Ted Unkel.
At 33, the center official, who made his professional debut in in the NASL in 2009, still has plenty of time to progress and he is ambitious for the future.
“It’s been a great season,” he said, reflecting on 2015 so far. “A lot of hard work has gone into the preparation, and for each match.
“It’s a team effort with all the support we have at PRO and all the support I have at home, that culminates in those 90 minutes.
“Consistency is what I look for as a referee. It’s about finding a way to be consistent game in and game out.
“Obviously my goals will be to continue to be part of the group who take charge in MLS and continue to be part of the Playoff picture and also look up ahead to the international scene as the next venture to come.”