CONCACAF raises the bar for elite referees

Thirty five officials participated in the CONCACAF Elite Referee course held last week in Miami, Florida.


Barbadian referee Gillian Martindale speaks with excitement about her participation in the first CONCACAF Elite Referee course to include both male and female match officials.  She was one of the 35 officials that participated in an intensive four-day training workshop held by the Confederation last week in Miami.

Always a fan of football, Martindale’s passion is refereeing. 

“I love the game of football, the physical aspects of refereeing, the pressure, how it builds self-esteem, and how you can establish relationships with people,” said Martindale, who became a referee in 2005 after attending a local course.  “My dream will be to officiate a senior FIFA Women’s competition and this course represents the very first step to have an opportunity to referee at the highest level.”

Intent on the goal of refereeing at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, Martindale is also eager to contribute to the development of football in Barbados.

The Elite Course provided high-level instruction to referees such as Martindale with special focus being placed on the new laws of the game, ways to protect the game’s integrity, field technical modules, video tests, as well as mental and psychological preparation.  For the first time, the seminar incorporated a psychology module as personality is a key factor in game and player management. 

During the opening ceremony, CONCACAF officials including General Secretary Philippe Moggio, Deputy General Secretary Ted Howard and Director of Refereeing Brian Hall highlighted the potential of referees in our region and CONCACAF’s commitment to providing the tools for success.

“As the excitement is building up for our upcoming major competitions, CONCACAF and its refereeing department have created this program to meticulously prepare the match officials for high-paced games on the biggest stages within the region,” said Moggio.  “As representatives of CONCACAF, we are counting on our officials to ensure there is healthy competition, while maintaining the spirit of fair play.”

Mexican referee Roberto Garcia recognizes the importance of these courses in order to improve his own performance on a continuous basis. 

“Working hard and maintaining discipline are crucial aspects to deliver key results.  A referee must prepare to be competitive 365 days a year, enjoy each and every game, and give the best,” said Garcia, the center official for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup final between Uruguay and France in Turkey.  “Football has grown a lot and these international competitions reflect all the work you have done.”

Garcia, a referee for more than 20 years, worked at the historic Copa America Centenario USA 2016 and has been part of the officiating crews at CONCACAF Gold Cup and Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League matches.  In December, he will have the opportunity to officiate at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2016.