Major League Soccer
US Soccer

Walton looking for positive end to season

Oct 10, 2013

Peter Walton, General Manager of the Professional Referee Organization, wants his roster of officials to finish their inaugural season in style. 

As the franchises of the United States and Canadian professional soccer leagues approach the playoffs and go for glory, PRO officials have been set their own end-of-season goals.

Walton told “As this season draws to a close the critical decisions become doubly important. 

“A wrong call could be the difference between a team making a playoff position or not. What I’m looking for now is a home stretch where the guys get these important calls correct.

“We’re humans, we'll always get a throw-in or a free-kick wrong, but it's those game-changing incidents we are looking at. We are really focusing on the decisions that could lead to a red card or a PK, for instance.

“What we found was that during the second quarter of the 2013 season compared to the first quarter, our officials called 28% less critical decisions wrongly.”

Walton and his team have been using the Play of the week feature, which, in some instances, highlights examples of strong officiating from the latest round of matches, as one tool for improvement throughout the season.

But it’s not exclusively positive. Play of the week also indicates when, and how, referees or their ARs could have performed better, with self-criticism a mechanism being used to help steer the drive towards enhancements in 2013. 

”This year has all been about evolving. Where are we going? What are we trying to do? What tweaks do we need to make?

“We've certainly made progress. We're seeing small positive changes every weekend. 

“We're also seeing a little more consistency from our referees. That can only be good for the game and good for the public who watch the game.”

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