Major League Soccer
US Soccer

Kennedy blossoming behind the scenes

Sept 19, 2013

Michael Kennedy's transition from MLS official to PRO's Referee Manager has been a swift one, but one the 52-year-old has enjoyed.

It was only last season that Kennedy took to the field for his last game in the middle, for the MLS match between Portland Timbers and DC United, but the former FIFA referee is relishing his new venture.

He told “It [working for PRO] has been a great opportunity and something that has been exciting, but hard work.
“It's been very enjoyable to work with the referees and seeing the growth that has happened in just six months has been fantastic.

“With regards to my day-to-day involvement, I use the beginning of the week to review the previous weekend's good practices and learning moments.

“The middle of the week requires conversations with the officials regarding situations from matches and addressing any concerns. I also stay in contact with the various leagues that our officials work in.

“When the weekend approaches, attention turns directly to gameday and any issues the referees may have prior to kick-off, and after the game. 

“Then, from Friday through to Sunday, I am watching games and assessing them.”

Kennedy's role within the organization also includes working alongside Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer at the PRO training camps that are held at the Cooper Hotel Conference Center & Spa in Dallas.

The camps have the aim of improving the 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.

Kennedy believes the camps are the key for growth amongst the ranks but insists the introduction of PRO's Play of the week, which is run on a weekly basis on, has also been a valuable addition to the operation.

“The officials have come together well and they've been very happy with how Peter [Walton, General Manager] has set up the camps and the amount of time they spend on education and training.

“Each week something happens in the great game of soccer that is unique, or something happens that is educational. Or there are situations that occur frequently but we have to assess how we manage them.

“I have the pleasure of working with Paul Rejer, who has been a fantastic source of knowledge and a true gentleman, in reviewing the critical match incidents of the games in our Play of the week.

“It [Play of the week] has been fantastic and we've received a lot of good feedback from the people that are watching the PRO website, and they've been impressed with it. 

“It's fantastic to see people from the media and the clubs taking an interest in it. Some of the goodness of that is that we've been able to say that we make mistakes. 

“We can now see why mistakes are sometimes made, based on the angle, the speed of play, how it developed and how the players came to contact with each other, and whether it was in the referee's vision.

“We're now able to show the good and the bad - just like in life, there is good and bad – and use that as a tool for improvement.”

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