PRO has established the Professional Referee Organization Ernie Branco Liaison Award.
Each MLS team has a Referee Liaison Officer at their stadium to support the PRO officiating crews on gameday. The award recognizes the members of staff who have shown fantastic attitude and acted professional in support of the officials.
The award is named after the late Hernani Branco, who was affectionately known as Ernie. He served as the U.S.S.F. National Referee Emeritus and New England Revolution liason to Major League Soccer, but was tragically killed in a car accident in 2013.
Julio Cesar Davila of the LA Galaxy was the first Liaison Official to be given the honors, and PRO’s Referee Manager Michael Kennedy reserved praise.
“Julio has always brought a calm, helpful presence to the officials he assists on gameday,” he said.
“The professional approach he takes with his work has been witnessed by our crews for many years and it was very thoughtful that the officials themselves brought forth the idea of this honor to those that serve as the referee liaison position.”
Julio was delighted to receive the award. He said: “I really appreciate PRO and all the officials for the new award. It’s a privilege and I’m very fortunate.
“I’m surprised that it’s me receiving this recognition first. All I do is my work, to a very professional standard. I make sure that I take care of everything the officials need before, during and after the game, to ensure they can concentrate solely on the game.
“I give thanks to the LA Galaxy for the help they give me with the needs of the officials.
“This award is a very good motivation for all the official liaison officers.”