Major League Soccer
US Soccer

PRO among America's elite officiating organizations

Sept 26, 2013

A professional approach to officiating among North American sports leagues has reached a new level in recent years with the formation of multi-code focus groups.

And that is something that has helped to accelerate the development of the Professional Referee Organization.

With the inception of PRO, the 18-year life of Major League Soccer without an officiating-specific arm came to an end, and that means the league is now in line with the country's other top sports organizations.

General Manager Peter Walton has become a member of various committees alongside officials and administrators from the NFL, NBA, NHL and more.

Walton explained: "PRO as a company is now beginning to become the recognized face of soccer refereeing in the United States at the professional level and that can only be good for the game.

“I sit on the National Association of Sports Officials [NASO] committee and also on a sub-committee called the Officiating Development Alliance, which is made up of the appointment officers and administrators for the other professional American leagues such as the NFL, NHL, NBA, Lacrosse, etc.

“We meet four times a year and discuss the common pressures and common themes throughout sports, and PRO is recognized as the main contributor from the soccer side of things.”

The relationships with other sports leagues aren't the only links growing in strength. The communication and understanding between PRO and the clubs they officiate is also strengthening.

And that is assisting PRO in its desire for officiating improvement in the top professional soccer leagues in the United States and Canada.

“Establishing greater links with our clubs, you could say, accumulated in [FC Dallas head coach] Schellas Hyndman coming to speak to us.

“The improved relationship is helping our guys' understanding of the game and the coaches' understanding why we are doing various things.” 

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