- About PRO
By Katja Koroleva and Amanda Ross, in Scotland
Day Six (08/07/13):
We have returned to the States safe and sound.
Prior to our departure we had an opportunity to tour more of Scotland, most notably visiting the city of Edinburgh. We were accompanied by our stay at home 'wee little brother' Mark, as we toured the castle, university and enjoyed the events of Fringe festival. That evening, courtesy of Steven McLean, we received tickets to a friendly at Ibrox Stadium featuring Newcastle United (England) and Rangers (Scotland).
This has been a wonderful experience. We are thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of the tournament. Thank you to all the local referees that we met and worked with throughout the week, especially Alan Cunningham, Sean Carr, and Derek Rose for organizing our visit. We also want to extend a huge thank you to our stay at home family, Teresa, Kevin, Mark, Paul, and Peter, for their generosity during our visit.
Day Five (08/06/13):
Amanda spent the morning with Sandra working one of Scotland's Premier Division woman's game. She was AR1 for Jennifer, the referee who accompanied us to Edinburgh. The game featured the top two teams in the Scottish Women's Premier League, Glasgow City vs Hibernians. It was a great opportunity to see the differences between the top woman's football league in Scotland versus the US. It was an exciting game with a good crowd.
Katja spent the day working at the tournament. She had the opportunity to referee the U21 semi-final, a very competitive and hard-fought match. Later in the afternoon, she refereed the U19 final, which also went well and was decided with a stoppage time winning goal. Amanda worked the closely-fought U21 final to finish the tournament.
To celebrate the end of the tournament, together with Sandra Serafini we enjoyed dinner with our hosts - Sean Carr, Alan Cunningham and Derek Rose. This was a great opportunity to give our thanks for our amazing welcome to Scotland and our first introduction to Scottish football.
Day Four (08/04/13):
The matches became more competitive on day two of competition, as the stakes for qualifying became a reality. We were each involved with two matches for the various age groups. U21 and U19 boys fixtures were competitive and fast-paced, challenging matches. The largest difference we have noted between Scottish football and American is that the challenges are harder and faster and decisions need to be made quicker.
We continue to receive great feedback from experienced observers such as Alan Cunningham, Derek Rose, Gerry Corrie and Sandra Serafini. The local Glaswegian referees have been incredibly welcoming and have made us feel a part of the group.
That night we were invited to attend an annual dinner with the local southern Glasgow chapter known as the Salmon Pink Jacket Dinner. The night was dedicated to blooper-nominations that the members committed during this past season. The winner receives a pink jacket with pins as well as a pink training top to be worn at weekly training sessions. This is a great tradition and we were happy to be a part of the voting and deciding committee for this year.
Day Three (08/02/13):
Today was the first day of competition at the Glasgow International Tournament. This tournament is a youth tournament featuring boys teams, from U13 to U21 competing over three days. Each team will play approximately five to six games, including a friendly and the semi-finals and final match.
We had the pleasure of working two matches each with different local officials. The games are fast and hard fought by the players. It's been educational to see the vastly different styles of play between players here and those back in the US.
The tournament also has many observers, which we would consider in the US coach-mentors. We have had feedback from multiple observers, including Sandra Serafini, and have received valuable comments. One of the observers is former MLS referee Gerry Corrie who is now giving back to the game by mentoring the young officials in Scotland.
We look forward to day two of the competition as the teams battle to make the semi-finals.
Day Two (08/01/13):
The past two days our hosts have been showing us around Scotland. On Wednesday morning, the mother of our host family, Teresa, took us to the People's Palace museum. This Glasgow museum focused on the history of Scotland and its people.
In the afternoon on Wednesday, Alan Cunnningham brought us over to Hampden Park where we met up with Sandra Serafini, John Flemming, the head of the Scottish FA, and Craig Thomson, one of Scotland's elite FIFA referees. Sandra had a meeting with Craig and John in the morning where they discussed their different referee development programs. In the afternoon we enjoyed a tour of Hampden Park. This national stadium was beautiful. The tour included a museum highlighting the history of Scottish football.
That evening we went out to another referee training session. That evening we participated in the workout with the group which began with a warmup and then some high intensity intervals. The group is currently preparing their fitness for the upcoming season that starts this weekend.
On Thursday, Alan and a local female referee, Jennifer, took us to Edinburgh. Jennifer had traveled to the US for the Disney Tournament and was happy to see Sandra again. We explored Edinburgh for the day, visited the castle and did some shopping. It is a breathtaking city. This city is filled with history and architecture that is vastly different from Glasgow.
The tournament starts tomorrow. We're looking forward to being on the pitch!
Day One (07/31/13):
After an unexpected phone call from Sandra Serafini inviting us to attend the Glasgow International Cup, we have finally arrived and are thrilled to be here.
We are thankful for this opportunity and honored to be here on behalf of PRO and US Soccer.
We had the morning free to explore the City Center and enjoy downtown shopping. After a light lunch, we walked to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum as well as enjoying the botanical gardens in the park.
As part of this trip, we are welcomed by the family of one of the local referees, Sean Carr. We are thankful for this opportunity to partake in a homestay experience as part of our journey. The family has greeted us with open arms and has made us feel at home.
Alan Cunningham and Sean took us in the evening to one of the Glasgow training events. The referees in Glasgow including the top tier FIFA officials gather weekly for fitness training sessions. Three of the local female officials were able to join us for dinner after training and we discussed the differences and similarities in football officiating in our respective countries.
We look forward to tomorrow when we will meet Jon Fleming, Scottish FA's head of referee operations, and Sandra Serafini for lunch and a tour of Hampden Park Stadium.