- About PRO
January 16, 2013
The Professional Referee Organization's new Training and Development Manager Paul Rejer has been a busy man since he retired from active refereeing in 2003, and he is now relishing the chance to play a major role in developing officials in America.
After beginning his career in 1979, Rejer made it into the English Football League as a referee and also ran the line in UEFA Cup and FA Cup finals.
Then, after his on-field days came to an end, Rejer took up a coaching role with Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) – the governing body that oversees officials in England. His role was initially on a part-time basis before it became a full-time role - which he held for nine years, before deciding the time was right for a new challenge.
“Working for an organization for nearly a decade is a long time, particularly in soccer,” Rejer said to proreferees.com.
“To work full-time in a job you love, it's not really a job is it? I'd been there nine years and I really enjoyed my time, I just felt this opportunity represented the chance to start a new chapter.
“Peter [Walton] moved out to the US and I got a call asking me whether I would be interested in working with him, which of course I was. I hope some of the successes I had in England, I will achieve here with PRO.”
As well as working for the PGMO, the former referee also became an assessor, firstly in the English Football League, before moving up to the English Premier League.
Despite spending his working life within officiating in England in one capacity or another, Rejer insists the objective isn't to bring the European approach of refereeing and impose it in the States.
“We're not trying to get American referees to referee like English referees, we just want to improve standards. That's what it's all about - improving standards - and that's what we hope to do.
“Sometimes, sticking to the basics is the best way of improving things. Refereeing basics are the same all over the world, we'll perhaps use some of the techniques we used in England, ones that we know worked but the focus will be on keeping it simple.”
Rejer's role will be vital when PRO host their all-important training camps throughout the season - the first of which is being held in Fort Lauderdale.
Despite it being pre-season, Rejer insists the officials and all PRO staff are working hard already.
“People think we have a rest at this time of year but it's actually the busiest time of the year, because a lot of preparation goes into it.
“Our pre-season training camps are really important because they send out the right messages, and we will be planning ahead for the forthcoming sessions we will have with the officials.
“Having the officials in a closed environment helps us give them some specialist training as a group but it also gives us an opportunity to speak to them on a one-to-one basis, which is important.
“Obviously Peter [Walton] will be there on a fortnightly basis but there's also Michael Kennedy – the Referees Manager – and together we will do whatever we think is necessary for the referees to benefit.”