Last month, 6 PA West referees attended the Annandale Premier Cup in Virginia. Four referees from the mentoring group summarized their experiences from the tournament.
From left to right, the referees that represented PA West at the Annandale Premier Cup: Chris Farver, Max Hartman, Taylor Bombalski, Ashley Smyda, Joshua Sanders, and Lukasz Skyrpic.
Many mentors also attended the event, including (from left to right) Paul Tamberino (Director of Referee Development, WPA Referees) with Alfred Kleinaitis (Director of Instruction, US Soccer), Don Wilbur (Former Member of Identification Process, US Soccer; National Assessor and Instructor, US Soccer), and Ali Saheli (Former FIFA Referee and National Assessor and Instructor, US Soccer).
Annandale was the perfect tournament to start off the 2016 outdoor season. The mentors I had were CJ Morgante, Rob Fereday and Ali Saheli. Each mentor had a different criticism for me individually. As referees we need to walk out on the field like we own the field. Showing confidence from the moment you get to the field is one way to get the respect of the coaches, players and spectators before the game even starts. Finally, always remember if you ever go to a tournament make sure you read and understand the tournament rules because they change from tournament to tournament.
I recently attended the Annandale Premier Cup Paul Tamberino and Chris Farver and Lukasz Skyrpic and fellow PA West mentor referees Ashly Smyda, Taylor Bombalski, and Joshua Sanders. On day one I got to work with Taylor and Ashly as we went through our game we felt very comfortable with and lots of fun as usual. That was one of my six games throughout the entire tournament. I finished Friday off with a line.
On Saturday I had an early start in the middle and I was assessed by retired FIFA AR Rob Fereday. We discussed new positioning styles and how the benefit the referee. Also for this game I got to work with two out of State Referees. I had two more lines on Saturday and had feedback from our own CJ Morgante.
I finished on Sunday after an 8:00am start. I was a line for a 17 Boys game and was assessed by retired FIFA Referee Ali Shaeli. He gave me great points to think about in future games not only on the line but also in the middle. After that we said our goodbyes and started heading back to Pittsburgh after a cold weekend of great soccer.
I would say the weekend down in for Virginia at the APC tournament was eye opening and really showed me both my strong and my weak points as a referee and assistant referee. On Friday I received excellent mentoring from Ali Saheli. He recommended that I make the game easy and not to over think the game and it will make me not get caught in transition as much. On Saturday I had three games my first was as an Assistant Referee. Allen Black gave me my take away from this game. It was to get more involved when the referee is out of position and it is right in my corner. My second game was probably the most aggressive game of the weekend for me. I had some very useful tips from several mentors who were watching the game including Rob Fereday, C.J. Morgante and Nasser Sarfaraz. Rob said when a referee is obviously struggling to expand my area of influence to help him out. C.J. gave me brownie points when I recognized a confrontation between several players and the referee was not getting there so upon seeing that I stepped in to prevent any after the play pushes. C.J. also confirmed what Rob had previously said. Nasser gave the crew input from the referees perspective. His key point was to not get over-involved. He felt too many trifling fouls were called so this caused the temperature of the match to rise. He also made the key point that the center referee has to be an actor.
My final game of the day I was the center referee. Allen Black was the mentor for the game the game wasn’t much of a challenge his key point was to work on my short sprint. He said that I don”t have a fast enough change of pace. Sunday I had one game on the line. Unfortunately no mentor was available, however my crew members gave me a tip about flag positioning for signaling for the direction of the throw. I tend to point too high instead of at 45 degrees. All in all it was a very enjoyable learning experience and I look forward to applying what I have learned in the upcoming season.
I recently traveled to the Annandale tournament with Paul Tamberino, Max Hartman, and Taylor Bombalski. This tournament was held in Annandale Virginia and hosted by Rob Fereday. He brought in many top level mentors and officials for this tournament. The mentors included Paul Tamberino, CJ Morgante, FIFA AR and World Cup Assistant Referee, Alan Black, former FIFA Ireland, Alfred Kleinaitis, former FIFA and director of Instruction, US Soccer, Ali Saheli, former FIFA referee, Donald Wilbur, National assessor, US Soccer and Brendan Barry, former FIFA Ireland. Although we did not have any official meetings, I still learned a lot and had plenty of feedback from my games.
One of the major points from the weekend, that I heard on a lot of my games, was to stay in front and to the left of the play. This allows you to have the maximum number of players in your vision and gives you a better angle when advancing up the field of play. This way the players that are behind your back, usually just a few, are the responsibility of the trail assistant referee. This also allows you to anticipate where the play is going rather than be reactive. Another suggestion I was given was as an assistant referee. I was told that there is no need to sidestep when there is not an offside, ball in and out of play, and a foul or misconduct decision right in front of you that needs to be made. The closer the proximity of play is to you is when more sidestepping is needed otherwise just mimic the movements of the second to last defender. Along these lines the rule of thumb is that 90% of sidestepping is done in the attacking third.
This was an excellent tournament to referee with numerous top level mentors who have all been at the top level of refereeing. I was also thankful to get to work with other referees from many other delegations who also want to advance and learn as much as possible.