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Michael Kennedy enjoying the rise of the Professional Referee Organization 

Sept 18, 2014

Approaching the end of only its second full year, PRO's challenge of improving the standards of officiating in North America has started to receive attention from the wider football communities, as well as its own.

This summer’s FIFA World Cup tournament provided a global stage to show how far it has come, driven by its domestic program, when Mark Geiger, Sean Hurd and Joe Fletcher were called up for big games, including France versus Nigeria in the Round of 16. 

PRO's Referee Manager Michael Kennedy, formerly a FIFA official himself, is relishing the opportunity provided by the increased role that the Organization is playing in world soccer. 

“We’re continuing to move forward,” Kennedy told proreferees.com

“We have been really busy this season with the international friendlies here and the World Cup going on in the middle of it, there has been a lot of attention on this part of the world. But every day seems to get better on the road to professionalism for us because we are learning all the time.”

Despite the success that the Organization has seen so far in a relatively short space of time, Kennedy remains keen to enhance the PRO standards even further, by sticking to what has worked well so far. 

“Like any team we just keep working at our weaknesses and at our strengths,” Kennedy explained.

“Now because we’ve been into it longer we are more comfortable. Things are popping up where we have an avenue to reach out to people more than at the beginning where it was brand new. Now they know straight away they’ll get an answer.

“Every day it continues to grow. People realise PRO is going to be here for a long time and it’s a good place to find answers to the questions that they have in a quick manner. Situations like Laws of the Game and the media, or for instance Mark Geiger at the World Cup; we received a lot of awareness about our program.

“When I first started out I’d get a couple of enquiries a day, now they’re flooding in, which is good growth because the clubs, media and the public realize we have a voice to be heard.

“At the beginning, people occasionally came to see us, perhaps as much out of curiosity as anything, but now they make the effort to come to our camps to see us, to understand how the training seminars work, and they find great value in it. 

“We always come out [of each session] with something because the guys are very good at drawing each other out to find a better practice. 

“We are trying to guide the game in a fair and respectful manner and if we can do that the performance of the game will ultimately be better too.”


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