Monday, July 29, 2013

Programming Note

Photo Courtesy of RSNT

Over the next week or so I will be off finishing my training for an upcoming mountain pass race.

Remember that training is a year round proposition with any sport, and while my similarly titled note on February 23rd this year focused on early season fitness, now is the time to be focused on maintenance fitness, or even in my case (and maybe yours) another build phase for upcoming challenges.

Gone are the days of getting fit by refereeing. It is now imperative to get fit to referee.

While there are tales of folks who "work themselves into form" by competing, if you expect to excel, you need to be fit from the start.

Please enjoy the archives to the right, and we'll back at it again!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

More Blowback for Winter World Cup

FIFA Exec and Premier League Chief Hit Out at 2022 Qatar Winter World Cup

COMMENTARY | Little by little, the foundation of the 2022 QatarWorld Cup is crumbling down. It was but a little over a week ago that FIFA president Sepp Blatter admitted what we all knew was true several years back, that a World Cup cannot take place in Qatarduring the hot summer months. Now, multiple noteworthy individuals are coming forward to voice their displeasure about an event that is becoming more and more a debacle nine years before it is even set to begin. ...

See the whole article here, courtesy of Yahoo! Sports.

Kicking Back Comments: Well, I'm not at all surprised by these reactions. In fact, I am a little surprised regarding how muted some are.

I think that will change however if FIFA actually goes ahead and moves the 2022 Cup to November. Not sure how that is done procedurally (EX-Comm vote, Presidential FIAT?) but Sepp's recent comments may have been a trial balloon to gauge reaction.

As we can see, it is not going well ... and I don't expect will if FIFA actually moves the dates.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gotta Talk

I caught this video when I was doing research for an article regarding the (mis)use of referees in commercials. (I am getting bored of the Axiron TV Commercial using a baseball ump for low testosterone treatment)

In it, it is clear just how much communication is necessary to effectively manage players.

When listening, ask yourself, do you talk that much during a match to manage things?

Should you?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

FIFA now considering November World Cup

FIFA is now planning to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar in November rather than January, a source at the governing body told kicker. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has confirmed that he intends to ask for the tournament to be held in the winter as temperatures in the Gulf state can reach 50°C during the summer.

Critics of the decision to award Qatar the tournament flagged from the outset that conditions would make hosting the event at the traditional time impossible and have called for the bidding process to be reviewed. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of ESPN.

Kicking Back Comments: This is going to wreak havoc across the European leagues. I wonder of Qatar still would have won (assuming a fair bid) if this fact would have been disclosed BEFORE the vote was taken.

If I had to guess, I would bet, it would not have.

Can we review this process please? It continues to stink to the heavens.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Welcome Back!

Fifa lifts a global ban on Cameroon for government interference

Fifa has lifted its global ban on Cameroon after a normalisation committee began its work on Monday to run the country's football federation.

It is being headed by former Minister of Education, Sports, Joseph Owona.

Earlier this month, Fifa banned Cameroon for governmental interference into the running of the country's football. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of the BBC.

Kicking Back Comments: Does skimming pond scum off the top make the water any more drinkable?
This is a general statement of course, but one that ran through my mind here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Playing the "black card"

I just don't know where to start with this one.

I could use it as a warning to referees everywhere that there is no such thing as a "friendly match."
What referee gets prepared for a mass confrontation event during a badminton match?

Seriously, how do you deal with something so extraordinary that it has only happened (per the announcers) once or twice in history!

While the referee apparently got the call right ... I wonder how much training is given for such an event.

I was waiting for Hulk Hogan to charge in and rip his shirt off.

I could go down the path of a horribly named penalty ... I mean a "black card"? Why not just say disqualification? Then again, as I listen to how a caution is described in MLS stadia across the US it is generally a "yellow card, caution, warning."

I get the origin ... but ... I dunno ... any sport that uses a shuttlecock is just weird to me. Then again I ride around in a colorful spandex suit that practically shows what religion I am.

I had to chuckle when the female announcer let an explicative go at :17. But the more I thought about it the more I knew they would not be fined as no one was watching. Then again more than a couple MLB teams are suffering this right now.

I think my overall point while trying to be somewhat tongue in cheek, is sport is sport, and it does not matter if it kids playing youth anything, or adults playing professional something, a referee has to always be ready for anything.

Even a hockey game breaking out in the NHL.

Monday, July 22, 2013

FIFA loses TV fight

Fifa loses free-to-air World Cup TV battle

Fifa and Uefa have lost an appeal against a European ruling that the World Cup and Euro Championships should be shown on free-to-air TV in the UK.

In 2011, the European General Court said the UK could keep the events on a list of "protected" events of national sporting interest broadcast for free.

It means the two tournaments cannot be sold exclusively to pay-TV firms.

Fifa and Uefa had appealed, after saying they could not sell the events fairly for their real value. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of the BBC.

Kicking Back Comments: There is a (business) part of me that feel for FIFA in this case. They legitimately own the rights to the World Cup and as such can reasonably exercise these rights as they see fit within legal and moral bounds.

Also, FIFA certainly has the right to make money, while I typically don't like how they use it, there is nothing to stop them from exercising this commercial right in a way they want, not just to a public broadcasting outfit. It is reasonable they could make more from a pay-per-view channel.

The argument that won the day was interesting. It was a "crown jewel" argument where the World Cup is such an event, a "crown jewel" of sport that it MUST be free for all (i.e. on a non pay channel). Similar to the Olympics or other such World Wide events (Le Tour?) it must be free for all.

It's a great argument, and one that I agree with.

It is ironic too, as FIFA has done a tremendous job marketing The Game around the world. So good in fact, they made the case against themselves here.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

And if you think the LOTG are tough to interpret ...

... please read the thought provoking piece by Paul Levy at NRAH, When the rulebook has no remedy.

It is a pale comparison to be sure as in our typical context we discuss the most minute exceptions to what is detailed in the NRAH article, but articulates (a) that not everything can be solved by a "rule book" (or an advanced directive in this case), and (b) There are times that we as humans are pressed into untenable positions where there may be no "right" answer, only a "best" answer.

As humans, and as referees, we have to accept his is a part of life.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

So why become a referee?

I'll be honest, after writing the story from the other day (There are bad days ... and there are BAD days) I had to ask myself if I want to continue refereeing, or let my kids consider the craft. Seriously.

It is downright tragic to see people has so much animosity over a game that they need to strike each other, a referee, player, coach, or spectator.

I can't even begin to imagine the barbarism involved in what happened in Brazil where (2) deaths resulted, one of which was not only gruesome, but also truly inhumane.

I also tossed out a warning for all to see in big red letters ... it read as follows:


That did leave a few questions unanswered however:

1. Was this referee registered?

2. What would have changed if he was?

3.  If you can referee matches unregistered ... why should you?

While I have received information about the answer to #1, as I sit here that answer is not really material as the league itself is not registered as we saw from the link in the previous article.

Tell the truth ... how many of you checked to see if you "Sunday Leagues" were registered?

Regarding #2, what would have changed if the referee and league was affiliated with US Soccer would be the remedies afforded the referee in the form of additional insurance, and additional discipline that the league, players, and teams would have faced would they have been found to be in violation of US Soccer and MA Soccer bylaws. Also, all parties involved would be afforded appropriate procedure to determine any culpability. This serves to protect all involved.

This would be in addition to any remedy at law that could be undertaken. Unless otherwise agreed, such procedures from US Soccer are not intended as any type of binding arbitration procedure.

Now let me say that, just because a league, team, and a referee are registered does not mean this stuff does not happen. Quite the contrary. Assaults happen, and referees at all levels need to be ready for such an occurrence. That topic is outside where we are going today, but will be up in posts to follow.

So again, why register with US Soccer? It costs money, takes time, and aside from the additional insurance coverage, what do you get?

Well, it just so happens US Soccer outlines some of these benefits on their web site, here. Specifically for referees, there are several benefits listed which include (quoted directly from the site):
  • Education through production and presentation of materials by US Soccer Referee Department
  • Licensing and insuring of US Soccer registered referees
  • Continuing education of referees
  • Training and licensing of instructors, assessors and assignors
  • Assignment and assessment for professional leagues and others by US Soccer
  • Priority rights in game coverage goes to affiliated games
  • Fair Play publication to all referees
  • Up to date website for referee information
There are others that are listed on the page ... and some not, such as the insurance coverage we all receive notice of each year.

I have to honest though, this list is both confusing (what is a "priority right" anyway?), and incomplete.

You want to know what the real benefit of getting registered with US Soccer is?

A community who dedicate themselves to the craft of being the best they can when serving as referees, and supporting each other in the process.

Sounds simple huh?

It's not, but it is extraordinarily powerful. Imagine a very large diverse group focused on exactly the same thing, and helping each other get there. This includes folks from all over the world, not just in the US.

JAFO touched on the diversity of this group in "Making Connections" and it is clear to me the power of these connections while formed by The Game, goes far beyond it. As I have said here before, I have learned more about life through becoming a referee that I could have just living it.

I know, I know, it sounds silly, and a couple of people may be rolling their eyes and going "cheeeezzzzyyyyyy", but ask yourself again when someone comes out to watch your match for no other reason than to help you, and asks for nothing in return, or you walk into a referee tent at a tournament and see tens and tens of referees there for the same reason, or a player who you think was your nemesis smiles at you and quietly says "good job" after a tough match, or on your wedding day, or death of a family member, or even your own failing heath, reaches out to pay respect.

Refereeing is a gateway to some of the toughest character building a person can face, yet do so with a community of like minded people around them who would be willing to lay it all out there to have you succeed.

A community that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Why become a referee? Why indeed.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

U.S. Soccer’s Platinum Program

First Three Officials Graduate from U.S. Soccer’s Platinum Program to Join Professional Ranks 

CHICAGO (July 8, 2013) – The U.S. Soccer Federation has announced the graduation of the first three officials from the Platinum Program: Katja Koroleva, Christina Unkel and Robert Sibiga. All three have moved on to the professional ranks as PRO officials after a successful year in U.S. Soccer’s intensive training program for select officials.

The Platinum Program provides select up-and-coming male and female officials with up to three years of personalized training in preparation for assignments at the professional and international level. Training is provided through a number of national training events, instructional webinars and through the support of mentors.  ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of US Soccer.

Kicking Back Comments: Congratulations to all, and a significant accomplishment to be sure. Even in "my time" as one of the first in a generation to go "coast to coast" from youth to amateur to professional, the programs and available resources have become so much more advanced and structured to allow referees to flourish.

Long gone are the days of being "discovered" in a Sunday "ethnic league" match. While certainly that experience is absolutely necessary to be able to survive at the international level with resources such as those created by Dr. Silva, these modern day referees have some of, if not the best, training in the world today.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Uh oh ...

FIFA: Cameroon ban stands

Johannesburg - Cameroon club Coton Sport won't be allowed to play in the African Champions League this weekend because the country's football federation is still suspended for government interference, FIFA said on Monday.

Coton Sport's ineligibility adds to the complications surrounding Africa's top club competition with Egyptian rivals Zamalek and Al Ahly, the defending champion, without a venue for their meeting because of the political turmoil and threat of violence in their country. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of Sport24.

Kicking Back Comments: This again makes me wonder who needs whom. Outside of the world Cup (obviously), why just not play without FIFA?

When the UK threatened to cede from FIFA it seemed to be taken a bit more seriously ... why not here?

Can you imagine if that actually happened ... liberated from FIFA ... what a thought.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Is Law 11 Changing ... Again?

And when do they apply?

If anyone is curious to see what is coming their way, take a peek here, effective since July 1, 2013 ... with a caveat.

So given this new text ... does this change anything?

If yes, what?

If no, why change the text?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cycling does not have hooligans huh ...

... I beg to differ.

Mark Cavendish 'sprayed with urine' and abused by fans during Tour de France time trial after Tom Veelers crash

Mark Cavendish was left upset after being drenched with urine during Wednesday's time trial as his fellow Briton Chris Froome led the chorus of dismay about the spectre of hooliganism appearing again at the Tour de France.

The festive atmosphere on the route to Mont Saint-Michel was interrupted disgracefully by the abuse thrown at the British champion, culminating in a bottle of urine being sprayed over him.The Manxman’s French team-mate Jérôme Pineau said he felt “ashamed” about the episode as it appeared that Cavendish was targeted because of his part in Tuesday’s controversial sprint finish in Saint-Malo when some other sprinters blamed him for the clash with Tom Veelers in which the Dutchman suffered a heavy fall. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of The Telegraph.

Kicking Back Comments: What was I saying about the race referees applying the rules to all? Well here it is. While the referees have certainly made their decision, other riders, the general public, and future races, have made theirs.

Let's just say the referees don't see it the same way as nearly everyone else.

Should it matter?

Well there are times when a stadium is filled with boos because the home team did not get a break fan(atics) thought they deserved,  and sometimes the stadium is filled with boos because fan(atics) just got a better look than the referee at what was on the jumbotron.

I will let this audience decide for itself based on the incident.

The lesson here is there is no such thing as a friendly match.

Even in an event that is defined with civility, there can be trouble hiding around every corner. Be ready for it.

Tacks on the road last year, urine poured on a former world champion this year ... what's next?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Good on FIFA

So I whined here not that long ago about Sepp visiting Palestine, and opined to employ some "balance" in his visits from Sepp playing the joker again.

Well, honestly, good on FIFA and Sepp for visiting both Palestine and Israel as reported here.

I stand by my thinking that FIFA does not want to get wrapped up in the conflict of the region, but, so long as FIFA is even handed with its comments, UI can see no real harm coming.

If however, FIFA choses to take a stand with one or the other, it is going to get exactly what it desserves ... a heap of trouble.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blame the engineers ...


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — FIFA is considering scrapping 3-D broadcasts of the next World Cup, describing ESPN's decision to abandon the format as another setback for the technology.

The sports network said earlier this week that there weren't enough viewers in the United States to make 3-D broadcasts worth the investment, and ESPN's dedicated channel will close by the end of the year. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of the AP.

Kicking Back Comments: I am of course kidding about the title of this post, as it would seem fairly clear that if ESPN made the decision to invest in the technology knowing that only 6% of household can utilize such a stream, and only a small percentage of those would actually watch the World Cup, it is the folks in marketing who wanted to do it in the first place that would seem to have erred.

I would think the question of "does the market want it?" would be answered before "how do we build it?" in this consumer setting.

Then again that might me the engineer in me talking.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Last ... but not least

On July 2nd I posted the Region I Massachusetts Youth National Appointments.

I did neglect to post one announcement however, which was Randall Kelly, who has been invited back to Nationals this year.

Well done Randy!

Another fabulous video from US Soccer

This one is on concussion awareness, and is a MUST WATCH for all referees.

Keep in mind, as a referee, you are not there to administer medical advise or treatment, simply direct the player if they look to be in distress to a supervising adult or trained medical staff.

There is no harm is erring on the side of caution with head injuries.

When in doubt, stop the game, and get help. No one who really is concerned about the participants of a match will question such a decision.

Monday, July 8, 2013

There are bad days ... and there are BAD days

Many thanks to regular readers Matt A. and John U. for bringing these articles forward (oddly coincidentally) on the same day.

First is a local (to me) referee assault.

Alleged attack on referee lands soccer player in court

LYNN — A judge released but ordered an East Boston man to stay away from his soccer league after police said the man and his two brothers attacked a referee after he issued a red card.

“I think he really enjoys the league, but understands,” court-appointed defense attorney Daniel Werner said when the judge issued her ruling. ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of and here, with a video interview with the referee from WHDH.

Kicking Back Comments: Foremost, Kicking Back wishes Mr. Garcia a speedy recovery. Cowardly assault on the referee aside, I applaud the trial courts decision here. I agree it is unusual to set a cash bail for such an event, even one as heinous as putting a referee in the hospital for a couple of days for a mass confrontation  but I suspect the judge, and both attorneys knew that (a) the suspects would deny everything, and (b) there is little chance of actually getting them back in court.

I also applaud the judge for recognizing the role the referee was acting in for the match. Check out the article for the particular quote.

So where are we now?

We have a referee who will never, on his own admission, referee again, with a broken facial bone, players who have allegedly committed assault and battery on a referee, likely never to show up in court, and a league that should take and face, some significantly stern action.

What can US Soccer do? How about Mass Soccer?

Likely nothing, as on a cursory look, the U.S. Latin Soccer League is not affiliated with either.
Take a look here for the affiliated adult soccer leagues in MA.

A word to the wise, unless the league is affiliated, there are few remedies outside those at law that can be brought to the bad actors. Also, it is far more difficult to assure compliance to common sense safety rules (e.g. having a detail officer at every match) and compel a league to take such action. Further, while US Soccer has an insurance policy that would cover (I am guessing) some of the damages that have occurred here for the referee, it would not apply, even if the referee was a registered US Soccer referee, as (and again I am assuming based on info to date), the league is NOT an affiliated US Soccer league.


Here is where there "rubber meets the road" for these referees however, and they should group together and take the issue to the league, and refuse to work another match until life suspensions are handed down to each player involved, and the team is tossed from the league from the rest of the season. Or maybe a petition to the Lynn board of parks to show what this league has been up to and pull their current field permit?

Just a thought ...

Now as a second thought, MA Soccer and US Soccer should be at least "made aware" of this stuff, by what mechanism I have no idea, as should USLSL seek membership in the future, they might want to be aware of what history it carries.

But, with every ying, there is a yang, and as the title of this blog entry implies, there was a referee who had an even worst day.

As gruesome as it is, please check out Brazil soccer referee killed during match; his head displayed on stake midfield from Fox News. 

Fox does draw a poor comparison at the end of the article however, somehow thinking (other than causing death) that the stoning, quartering, and beheading or a referee, is in the same realm as the shooting death (~100 bullets were found in Mr. Escobar I believe) of a player who scored an own goal ... and as speculation has it, was killed by gamblers for not making the point spread.

Somehow I'm just not seeing the two as similar.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Interview courtesy of NBC

A truly outstanding individual, and teammate. One we should all be proud of.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Law 15 Redux

Remember how I had said Law 15 was "Just a way to restart?"

Don't believe me ... take it from FIFA, here.

... and I have to say US Soccer continued to step up their game making this material available to all.

Friday, July 5, 2013

How @LeTour Robbed @iamtedking and why it matters to referees

So many have been following the criminal mistakes the Tour de France has been making over the opening stages of the tour.

We started with the Orica Green Edge Bus getting wedged under the finishing banner in Stage 1 as we can see here.

Now by itself, this is not a huge deal as frankly, crap happens, and the bus driver made a late decision to go to the finish line, and paid the price frankly by getting stuck under the banner.

Some poor planning on OGE, and maybe even on The Tour for not being more careful.

It is the series of events thereafter however that are really putting Le Tour in a very poor light.

Now, while the bus was getting un-wedged from the banner, the peleton was speeding to that very finish line at speeds around 30MPH. Fearing the worst, the race referees made the on the fly decision to make the finish for the stage at the 3km sport, where there are also cameras (because of there is a crash in the last 3km, all riders get the same time who are involved).

Fair enough, and while the 3km mark was particularly dangerous to finish in, they went with it (Hindsight would have provided the better answer of neutralizing the stage I think).

So with riders getting cross-eyed from oxygen debt, word went out on race radio the finish would be at 3km, not at the finish line.

Now forced to reorganize their teams faster than had been expected, chaos in the peleton ensued and riders scrambled for position. The result, a crash at the 6km mark that caught all of the major contenders, and some of their teams. Some were injured, some seriously, such as NH native and ultra domestique for Cannonade Pro Cycling, Ted King who separated his shoulder in the accident, yet finished, and rode in stages 2 and 3.

On seeing this occur, the race judges made an immediate decision that because they changed the line to the 3km mark, and the crash occurred at the 6km mark, 3km form the NEW finishing line, all riders would get the same time.

This did not sit well for many and the organizers were heavily criticized for their decision.

Stages 2 and 3 go by relatively uneventful from the outside, but many riders were still suffering greatly from their injuries from Stage 1. Even with this being true, these riders were able to make the time cut for each stage (generally a % of the finishing time where riders must finish, or be faced with the possibility of elimination).

Stage 4, the Team Time Trial (TTT) was up, and within the first 150m Ted King was dropped, unable to keep up with his team due to his injuries. He did fight the entire ride however, and clock in at an average speed of approximately 28 MPH ... with a separated shoulder.

At the conclusion of the stage, Cannonade and Ted were told he would be disqualified due to being outside the time cut by 7 seconds.

An international outcry ensued after the decision was renderend by Vicente Tortajada, Le Tour referee jury president. Echos of this protest are still occurring.

Particular commentary, and video about the incident, and the outpouring of support can be found here, here, here, and here.

Now, horrible decision aside, based in history where other "contenders" have been outside the cut, and been allowed to continue, or even the fact that the organizers themseves were the cause of the crash in Stage 1, which was the cause of the injuries, and the cause of being outside the time cut, the worst of it was the president of the referees explanation of the decision.

In short, "... the rules are the rules ... ."

A note to the Tour:
I think Mr. Tortajada is going to be very sorry later in this Tour he ever said those words.

A note to referees out there:
Don't ever say that, you will be sorry you did.

This dear friends is one of those "put on your big boy pants moments" where empathy wins over the text of the regulations. Ted should have been able to ride.

But you may say, he was outside the cut, how can they do that?

The same way they did for others in the past, my taking into account the totality of the situation, and the principals the sport was founded on. Courage, determination, dedication.

As a referee empathy needs to trump the LOTG in some situations where a good decision, needs to outweigh a correct one. What we have here is a decision that is technically correct, and practically wrong.

Also (and referees take note here too), it has limited the decision making ability of the 100th Tour referees to EXACTLY what is in the text of the rule book. They have said it themselves "... the rules are the rules ... ."

To bind yourself to a series of words is a dangerous pretext. Any good referee, any good manager, wants flexibility to deviate when it is necessary to do so. This moment comes when they recognize that strict application of the rules will actually do harm to the spirit of what they are employed to protect.

Mr. Tortajada forgot this completely in his ruling on Ted King.

If the opportunity arises again in this Tour, he will be forced to employ his same singular stance on the topic, and recite the text of the rules.

If he does, good on him for being at least consistent, if not a robot.

If he does not, especially on July 14th if a Frenchman is involved, doping will be the least of Le Tour's problems in 2013 and beyond.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

No soccer ANYWHERE today ... BUT ...


So there is lierally no live soccer on national TV on the 4th, but there is other time during the week.

That said, there is a killer stage (Stage 6) of the Tour that is going to be another day for the sprinters.

EN - Analysis of the stage - Stage 6 (Aix-en... by tourdefrance

This Tour so far has seen a number of bizarre and fantastic sights.

A team bus stuck under the finishing banner.

An unexpected Radio Shack yellow jersey for a couple of days.

And for me a "live Tour report" as a friend of mine had the chance to visit at Stage 4, and met some of the boys from Garmin. Just outstanding stuff.

Copyright TD Productions
After my ride that day ... you can bet I am eating crapes, drinking wine ... and watching Peter Sagan take the day. The man is redicilious on a bike. Just watch this one ...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Who does Ben Olsen have to blame?

Apparently it is the referees who are at fault for only getting 9 points in the 17 matches he has had. Which is the very worst in MLS.

He should have stopped when he said, “... nobody wants to hear the coach in last place complain about the referees.”

You're right Ben ... we don't. But that didn't stop you, did it.

You can see (and hear) the rantings here, courtesy of NBC Sports.

I've opined about this in the past, specifically about Jay Heaps and the Revolution ... do we really think referees have as much leeway as coaches? Ben has been terrible this year, and yet, DC has trotted him out at the helm 17 times.

Would a referee get that kind of response at the MLS level?

Mind mind is made up ... what say you?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Region I Massachusetts Youth National Appointments


It is with great pleasure the MSRC announces the selection of Massachusetts referees Anthony Brossi, Ian McKay, and Alexandria White to the US Soccer Youth Nationals.

Brossi, McKay, and White will join other referees from Region I, and all other US regions at the US Youth Soccer National Championships which serves as the crown jewel of competitive youth soccer with the nation's top 88 youth soccer teams.

Congratulations to all, and best of luck in these last steps of your youth soccer refereeing career.

More Bribes from FIFA?

Fifa: Brazil World Cup to have 'cheapest ever tickets'

Tickets for next year's World Cup in Brazil will be "cheapest ever", football's governing body Fifa says.

Fifa Secretary-General Jerome Valcke said 70% of the matches would cost less than in previous events; ticket prices will be announced on 19 July.

Mr Valcke and Fifa President Sepp Blatter praised the Confederations Cup in Brazil which ended on Sunday. ...

See the whole story here, from the BBC.

Kicking Back Comments: Can you see FIFA sweating now?

I don't think they are done yet ...