CONCACAF symposium provides path for referee growth

CONCACAF referees (pictured) gathered for a symposium at the recently completed Dallas Cup. (Photo: Aisha-Zakiya Boyd)

FRISCO, Texas -- The annual International Referee Symposium held in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas, held on March 24, once again provided CONCACAF’s referees with an opportunity to exchange best practices and review key points within the laws of football.

The event took place during the XXXVII Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup, a prestigious international youth soccer tournament in the United States.

Through the six-hour symposium, leaders within the referee community concentrated on important changes to the game, rules and regulations.

“We focused on positioning, movement, changes in law, how important it is to emphasize the practical training and understanding the game tactically,” said Esse Baharmast, a former FIFA World Cup referee.  “The seminar is a great opportunity to establish relationships with coaches and staff, while exchanging ideas and best practices.”

With the goal of raising the standard of refereeing in CONCACAF, more than 200 referees from around the region in were in attendance, including representatives from Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Canada, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and the United States.

Some of the subjects covered included:

  • Positioning and movement
  • Tactical reading of the game
  • Fouls and misconduct
  • Handball
  • Offside
  • Penalty area incidents
  • Latest law changes as approved by IFAB
  • Fitness preparation and the new fitness standards 

Here is reaction from symposium attendees:

Rod Pelosi -- National Referee Committee Member & Referee Appointments Chairman, New Zealand Football: “The CONCACAF Symposium is a phenomenal opportunity that offers an outstanding understanding about the unity of the soccer family.  We have to become integrated with coaches and players and understand how they play in every country, yet we continue to learn.”

Carlos Gonzalez -- Referee Committee Member, Mexican Football Federation: “This is a great opportunity that allows referees to come from all over the world.  It is a forum where you can examine specific issues to improve refereeing.  It is important that CONCACAF continues to review the technical work of the region’s referees, individually and in groups, creating a database to evaluate errors, while finding areas of opportunity." 

CONCACAF’s Refereeing Department remains focused on the advancement of teamwork, collaboration and creativity, to further develop and improve referees’ performance on the field.