Fullerton, CA (June 27, 2022) – The Cal South Referee Program, already much celebrated for its consistency and excellence, just established a historic mark as twelve of its referees who participated in the US Youth Soccer Far West Regionals were chosen to move forward to work at the USYS national championship events in July.
“We were already proud of our delegation of 25 referees and six referee coaches who were selected for regional championship events via our Cal South State Cup and National Cup competitions this spring,” said Juan Guzman Jr., the former MLS and FIFA referee who now serves as Cal South’s State Referee Administrator. “Their performance at the regionals was exemplary, and we are even more proud now that an incredible dozen of them have been chosen to officiate at the national level in July.”
Over 200 referees were selected overall from fourteen western states to work the USYS Far West Regionals, held in Boise, June 20-26. The competition between referees at this event is as high as it is between the teams, as FIFA Instructors and Professional Referee Organization coaches assess the referees closely during every match, eventually selecting the cream of the crop to move forward to the national competitions. The US Youth Soccer National Championships are scheduled for July 19-24, 2022 in Orlando, Florida and the US Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup is scheduled for next week, July 7-10, 2022 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“Having been a part of our Mentor Program as a young referee, experiencing the Far West Regionals and then getting selected to officiate at the Nationals gave me the training and exposure needed to reach the professional level,” said Fabio Tovar, a former Major League Soccer and FIFA assistant referee who currently serves as a Cal South Referee Mentor Program coach.
The Cal South Referee Program’s dominance was clearly seen in the knockout rounds of the competition over the weekend. During the quarterfinals round, six of the eight Boys U18 and U19 matches were centered by Cal South Referees, and the story was much the same during the semifinals and finals rounds. A special congratulations must go out to Cal South’s 2021 Female Referee of the Year winner, Ana Valdez, who received the Girls U19 final as a referee, as well as Servando Berna Rico, working a regional tournament for the first time, who received the Boys U19 final as a referee. Both have also been selected to work the National Championships.
“Thank you to the Cal South Mentor Program and referee coaches for training us so well before and during the event,”said Servando Berna Rico, a regional referee from the Los Angeles area who originally hails from Spain. “Providing the opportunity to show my abilities at the Regionals and then being selected to work a National event, I am so motivated. The sky’s the limit!”
“As we reflect upon the historic accomplishment that our program has set at a National level, I want to thank our entire ecosystem of Cal South staff, board, referee committee, referee associations, instructors, assessors, assignors, referees, and mentors,” said Rick Rehm, Cal South State Referee Committee Director of Assessment.
“A special mention must go out to some of the late founders of our Mentor Program: Heros Baghoumian, Gwen Keck, and Fred Margy, who are most assuredly smiling from heaven right now,” said Guzman Jr. “The ideology of our program remains the same: to be human and be a student of the game. Only compassionate individuals who do the right thing when no one is looking will succeed as a referee.”
Congratulations to the Cal South Referee Program for continuing to solidify and expand upon its status as the top referee program in the country.