- About PRO
Name: Fotis Bazakos
Date of Birth: 08/03/1979
FC Dallas vs. Seattle Sounders - Major League Soccer - 05/09/2012
LA Galaxy vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Colorado Rapids vs. Chinese National Team
AC Milan vs. Panathinaikos
How did you get into officiating?
My father refereed soccer since 1974 and became Minnesota’s State Referee Administrator in 1982 [until 1996]. After watching him referee countless amateur, collegiate, and professional games, my brother Elias and I decided to attend an entry-level referee clinic he was teaching in 1988. We passed the test and haven’t missed a year since.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while progressing through the ranks to become an official?
For me it was patience. Starting at a young age gave me opportunities early, but I needed to merge patience with feedback and development while waiting for me to mature into the next level.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career and why?
My family. My mother for driving me around and keeping raging parents off my back, my father for volunteering hours upon hours to mentor me, my uncle for offering his perspectives, and my brother for taking the journey with me.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
After 24 years of refereeing youth, amateur, collegiate, and lower-level professional matches, to reach my goal of refereeing a regular season MLS match on May 9, 2012, in Dallas.
What advice would you pass on to an aspiring official?
Find a mentor. It can’t be just anybody but it doesn’t have to be your idol. As long as there is mutual respect and benefit from the relationship, along with some relevant expertise on their part [maybe they are one or two steps ahead of you in their career], they will help you until it is time to find the next mentor to help you with the next step or two.