Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kicking Back's Thoughts for 2011

So as I sit here "penning" this on New Years Day, I reflect with mixed emotion on 2010, and with great anticipation for 2011.

I do not share all of ESPN's views on the disappointments of 2010 in the US Soccer world. I do share some however, particularly what happened to the 2022 World Cup. While I understand that a significant portion of this was FIFA's doing and the corruption, or at least disguised bid process that I have written about, I also believe that Mr. Guliti and his team, are not blameless in the episode.

To be sure there were high points in 2010. The US performance in South Africa while not all we hoped it would be, was not without great merit. It certainly kept reminding the World that while we are not that elite international team, we certainly belong on the stage.

Back at home there were ups and downs too. We lost a friend of THE game in Rich Filippetti, and saw a local boy turned international sensation Tom Supple retire in 2010.

On the other side of the ledger, we saw great progress in local referees and the advancement and recognition of many. Far too many to single out here. Further, the MSRC is clearly stepping things up, both with their expanded Academy Program, and the level of professionalism they expect from their advanced referees. Both are excellent steps in the right direction.

On balance I will look back on 2010 with some nostalgia for a variety of reasons. One of the largest of all is that it was the beginning of my way back to a game I love so much, and get the opportunity to share some of that here with you all on Kicking Back.

I am predicting that 2011 will be a time for change ... that itself is not very prophetic to be sure. However after some of the shakeups in FIFA, US Soccer, and MLS, I believe 2011 will be a very interesting year, especially for US referees.

Thanks for reading Kicking Back and making it a success in 2010. Let's see what we can do in 2011.

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