- About PRO
August 5, 2014
For soccer players, there are those occasions that mean a little more than most; the World Cup, the MLS Cup, victories over local rivals. For referees, it’s no different.
To get those big-game assignments, performances in the regular season need to be impressive and consistent.
When Claudiu Badea steps out onto the Providence Park field on Wednesday for the All-Star game, the assistant referee believes it will cap what he feels has been a productive year to date.
“I’m incredibly excited for the game. I was very flattered when I received the call from the PRO office - thrilled beyond words,” the 39-year-old told proreferees.com.
“Although it was a surprise, I have felt really good this season. I’m not sure how I’m viewed from the outside in terms of ranking or anything, but I feel I’ve had consistent games this year and I feel in a positive place.
“In this job you have to be self-confident and thick-skinned to survive, so I always try to stay upbeat, but I feel especially good at this point.
“Portland is a great city for soccer in North America so it will be a great stage on which I can work and the game can be played and shown around the world.”
Badea will run the line with Corey Parker on the other side of the field and Jair Marrufo as the center official. Ismail Elfath has been assigned as fourth official for the game between a selection of MLS players and German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
It will be the second time Badea – a software engineer - has officiated a Bayern match after overseeing their visit to New York in the summer of 2006, but this game represents a first MLS All-Star assignment for the assistant.
Having watched previous All-Star games on the television from the comfort of his own couch, the man from Boston will have a front-row view as he calls the infringements in Oregon.
But the view could have been different still, having once been a center official.
“I started as a fourth in 1997 and became a national referee in 2001. That summer, one of the guys who was an AR from the Boston area, his wife gave birth to their second child.
“It presented me with an opportunity to be an AR in MLS and that whetted my appetite. I started to enjoy it more and from that point I worked on re-training as an assistant and focusing on that role.
“My assignments were mixed between being a referee and an AR in the lower divisions for a while and then after a couple of years I focused on proving my mettle as an assistant.
“They’re definitely different jobs, with different training, focus and personalities. I’m lucky I found which one appeals to me more in a timely fashion, and now to receive this honor is almost like a validation of all the effort I’ve put in over my career.
“I’ve worked with Jair, Corey and Ismail plenty of times in the past so we’re looking forward to meeting up again and being involved in a special occasion.
“In a way, it’s like round two of the recently concluded World Cup game between the USMNT and Germany. It’s set to be a great match with an exciting atmosphere."