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MLS and U.S. Soccer go PRO
March 6th, 2012 10:54PM

TAGS:  mls, referees


[REFEREES] The Professional Referee Organization (PRO) has been launched to manage the referee programs for pro soccer leagues in the United States and Canada. MLS and U.S. Soccer will fund the program and operate it out of MLS offices in New York. Peter Walton, a English Premier League referee since the 2003-04 season, has been named general manager of PRO.

All current U.S. Soccer professional referee staff positions will move into PRO and report to Walton, who begins his full-time work for PRO on April 2.

Beginning this year, PRO will manage officials in the MLS and MLS Reserve games, the North American Soccer League, USL PRO and the U.S. Open Cup.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: March 7, 2012 at 9:16 a.m.
    Shockingly, an import; as if the U.S. referees market has no talent. We'll see how Walton impacts the stale MLS group of refs in thie first quarter of the season..
  1. John Pomeroy
    commented on: March 7, 2012 at 9:32 a.m.
    This is sorely needed. The level of professionalism of MLS refs must be higher. It impacts the quality of the games for fans and deters foreign players from coming over. Expansion has only made a bad problem worse.
  1. Albert Harris
    commented on: March 7, 2012 at 9:44 a.m.
    I haven't noticed British refs setting any world standards lately. Collina would have been a great choice, but I'm guessing he cost too much sadly.
  1. Carl Walther
    commented on: March 7, 2012 at 11:39 a.m.
    A British ref. running the U.S. ref. training program? His first rule---"the player has to be bleeding before you issue a yellow card to the other player."
  1. Gak Foodsource
    commented on: March 7, 2012 at 8:55 p.m.
    I understand the protectionist reaction from American fans when it comes to British migration, but I don't think it is merited with respect to improving our refereeing. What out referees lack is appropriate discretion. It is easy to teach our referees the rules of the game and which fouls we want them to enforce. It is much harder to use one's discretion evenly, consistently, and fairly. The EPL is one of the most difficult leagues to referee because teams want to be able to play and sort things out themselves. British referees have a strong record of using discretion appropriately and can offer much to prospective American referees in that respect - especially since our referees fundamentally lack that understanding due to a lack of experience refereeing top level matches. Statements made here that the EPL is excessively physical and that English referees don't can fouls are frankly misplaced.

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