Monday, November 17, 2008

Becoming an MLS Referee, FIFA Fitness Test

From the bottom up - starting off at Grade 8, working your way up to Grade 3/4 as a National Grade Referee.

All referees in MLS are National Referees of the United States Soccer Federation or Canadian International match officials. To become a US National Referee, it usually takes a minimum of officiating for seven years in over 500 games to reach the National Level. Both US Soccer and Canadian officials attend an annual testing session conducted by U.S Soccer in January. At this time, they go through a very intense training session. The referees arrive at camp on Thursday afternoon. The Cooper Physical Fitness test, including a series of 50 and 200 yard sprints, is the first thing on the agenda Friday morning. All National Referees MUST pass this test to be able to perform any duties in MLS (e.g., Referee, Assistant Referee or 4th Official).

New FIFA fitness test:
The FIFA test is given to all current FIFA personnel and those that are eligible. It is given in two stages, one for the referees and one for the assistants. The test is a series of six sprints by 40 meters to be done at a specified time. For referees it is 6.2 seconds and for assistant referees, it is 6.0 seconds. The second test is a series of interval sprints - 150 meters to be run in 30-35 seconds, with a 50 meter recovery. The assistants run the same test, but their time is 30-40 seconds with the same recovery time. In both cases, they must complete 10 laps. Also new to the referee program in 2007, is that, U.S. Soccer has employed four full-time referees. These individuals will do nothing but referee, train individually, attend training sessions with U.S. Soccer staff and devote most of their time studying the game.

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