Major League Soccer
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Camps the catalyst for improvement

July 18, 2013

Professional Referee Organization General Manager Peter Walton insists PRO officials are reaping the rewards of regular training camps.

The camps, which are driven by Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer and Referees Manager Mike Kennedy, are held at the Cooper Hotel Conference Center & Spa in Dallas and Walton believes they are the catalyst for the improvement that is being made.

Nine meetings have already been held with another nine scheduled before the current season comes to a close, and all have the aim of improving officials' understanding of game situations and desired outcomes, along with a focus on their physical development and education on any new legislation that has been, or is due to be, introduced.

"The officials are beginning to eat, breath and sleep soccer,” Walton told proreferees.com.

"We've condensed the amount of training they've had in the last five years into the first four months of the season.

"We can see relationships being built between the officials, we can see some consistent approaches to on-field issues and we can see the benefits of showing them current plays and current thinking so that it effects their next game."

The birth of PRO has improved the professional outlook on all aspects of officiating, both on and off the field, and increased stability amongst the ranks.

Those enhancements have installed a different mindset in the officials.

"Our officials are a lot sharper, they don't have so many issues in terms of travel or match preparation, and they are sent away on a Friday fully briefed on the game's playing conditions and the personnel, which can only benefit their overall game management.

"An understanding of what professional athletes need to do in order to advance is beginning to be adopted - they are beginning to debate decisions and come to a consensus of opinions.

"They have been exposed to different experts like MLS club coaches - who have varying views, to nutrition and dietitians, as well as regular physical assessments, and our officials are all showing the value of following a relevant training plan.

“Our guys are already losing on average two per cent body-fat since the start of the year and that manifests itself with leaner referees out on the field which, by perception, people think of them as athletes.”

The next PRO training camp is being held at the Ken Cooper Sports Center on July 25th and 26th.


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