- About PRO
Oct 4, 2013
PRO officials will incorporate the color pink into their usual gameday attire at certain matches throughout October in support of breast cancer awareness month – an element of MLS WORKS' Soccer Kicks Cancer initiative.
Crews assigned to select matches throughout the month will join MLS players in wearing the MLS WORKS pink ribbon patches on their jerseys, in addition to pink adidas sweat bands and pink boot laces.
MLS WORKS Soccer Kicks Cancer campaign is a league-wide initiative focused on providing strength and hope in the fight against cancers affecting men, women and children.
The campaign is particularly close to the heart of one member of PRO's crew - Ted Unkel, who was affected by the dreaded disease, which culminated in a family tragedy just days before his first MLS assignment in 2012.
“Just over three years ago my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer,” Unkel explained to proreferees.com. “She was an amazing woman, full of life and vitality.
“There wasn't a day she lacked a smile; impressive in the way she valued her friendships, so sharp and embracing of her career and happily indulgent in her own time, be it on vacation or her own personal spot on the beach with a book.
“Our relationship was close - driving time or layovers in airports always included a call with my mom as she loved hearing about my adventures, unconditionally making sure I was well, healthy and happy.
“The early years of driving me to practice and games every day, or traveling to small towns across the country to watch me play without hesitation was subsequently replaced with being able to watch me referee on TV as my career progressed.
“In late July of 2012 I received my first MLS appointment - a 4th official at New York Red Bulls on August 10th, my mom's birthday.
“It couldn't have been more fitting, as my whole family originates from New Jersey. She couldn't wait to tune in. She was my biggest fan and, in turn, I was hers.
“On August 6th, my mom lost her battle with cancer, four days before I was due to make my MLS match official debut.
“I applaud the league for its efforts in heightening awareness of cancer, and I'm proud to be a part of the initiative. This is a fight worth fighting until a cure is found.”