- About PRO
Sep 9, 2014
Dan Fitzgerald has targeted further progression on the PRO roster after a successful 2014.
The 29-year-old has been officiating in the North American professional soccer leagues since 2009, joining the MLS ranks in 2011.
He has blown the whistle twice in MLS this season and praises PRO for the guidance and opportunities he has received since its inception in 2012.
He told proreferees.com: “I was a fourth official in MLS and I was given instruction on improving and to keep doing what I’m doing. It was very exciting when I received my first referee assignment in Toronto. I did well, then I got another assignment and things have gone well since.
“From getting the guys together for training, fitness, to circulating information effectively – PRO has been good throughout. We’re all a lot more prepared now and are on the same page as each other, making us more effective as a referee team.
“As a referee you have to be ready when an assignment comes and PRO has done a good job in making sure we are prepared and ready to step up and take care of business when needed or when the opportunity comes.
“There will certainly be more officials like myself ready to come through the ranks with the guidance of PRO.
“PRO gives us that experience across the leagues and that allows us to see soccer at different levels and provides us with the opportunities that we need to be ready to referee at the next level.”
Fitzgerald started refereeing aged 15 when his dad presented him with an opportunity and he immediately fell in love with it. It gave him time on the soccer field with his dad and a chance to make money instead of working in a fast food joint.
His first professional assignment came four years later in June 2003, during his college days, when he was playing soccer as a goalkeeper.
Although he had an opportunity to continue semi-professionally, he chose to focus on refereeing, which has paid off with his rise to MLS.
His officiating is now combined with a job in sports medicine, but the resident of North Carolina has high hopes for the future.
“I just take each game as it comes but my main goal is to earn a contract with PRO and become one of the veteran referees in MLS.
“It helps from a referees’ stand-point to be able to get up and focus on training, preparing and travelling, versus trying to juggle a full-time job as well as all of the responsibilities of preparing as a referee.
“Alongside that, I also want to continue to grow as a person both on and off the field.
“I am fortunate enough to have the full support of my wife, which is the most important thing for me, second to my Christian faith.”