Region IV Selects 17 Cal South Referees for USYS National Events in July 2024

Cal South Referee Program Sets Historic Mark During Far West Regionals in Honolulu & Presidents Cup in Salt Lake City

Anaheim, CA (July 3, 2024) – The Cal South Referee Program, already much celebrated for its consistency and excellence, just established a historic mark as seventeen of its referees who participated in June’s US Youth Soccer Far West Regionals and Far West Presidents Cup competitions were chosen to move forward to work in USYS’s national championship events in July.

“We are proud of our delegation of 33 referees and nine referee coaches who were selected for regional championship events following our Cal South State Cup and National Cup competitions this past spring,” said Juan Guzman Jr., a former MLS and U.S. Soccer’s youngest FIFA Referee who now serves as Cal South’s State Referee Administrator. “Their combined performance at the regional tournaments was of the highest standard, and we are now even more proud that a record number of them – seventeen in total – have been chosen to officiate at the national level in July in front of Professional Referee Organization (PRO) and U.S. Soccer referee scouts.”

Over 300 referees were selected from the fourteen western states to work the USYS National Championship Series Far West Regionals, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, June 21-27, and the USYS Far West Presidents Cup, held in Salt Lake City, June 14-18. The competition between referees at these events is as high as it is between the teams, as FIFA Instructors and PRO coaches assess the referees closely during every match, eventually selecting the cream of the crop to move forward to national competitions. Less than 10% of the total number of referees are chosen for a National Championship event and Cal South referees will often make up half of the referees sent by Region IV. 

The US Youth Soccer National Championships are scheduled for July 23-28, 2024 in Orlando, Florida and the US Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup is scheduled for July 12-16, 2024 in Wichita, Kansas. 

“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 MLS and FIFA Assistant Referee who currently serves as Cal South’s Referee Mentor Program Coach.

The Cal South Referee Program at USYS Regional Events | June 2024

US Youth Soccer Far West Regionals

The Cal South Referee Program’s dominance was clearly seen in the knockout rounds of both competitions, highlighted by the fact that six out of ten Far West Regional final matches were whistled by a Cal South referee. The highest honor was given to Cal South referee Jay Schlesinger, who whistled the Boys 18U-19U final between Oregon vs. Arizona. 

“Thank you to the Cal South Mentor Program and referee coaches for training us so well before and during the event,” said Jay Schlesinger, a regional referee from the San Diego area. “Providing the opportunity to show my abilities at the Regionals and then receiving the highest assignment of the tournament was surreal. I am motivated to become a National Referee and to inspire other referees in my community.”

US Youth Soccer Far West Presidents Cup

A special congratulations must go out to referee Olivia Fernflores, who through our Cal South Female Referee Development Program has become one our top referees in our state. Her drive and determination was recognized by Region IV staff and was appointed to a Presidents Cup Final and to the Presidents Cup Nationals for the first time.

“As we reflect upon the historic accomplishment that our program has set at a National level, I want to thank our entire referee ecosystem including our Cal South State Referee Committee, Board of Directors, staff, associations, referee coaches, mentors, assignors, and referees. These individuals selected represent our program success as a whole,” said Rick Rehm, Cal South State 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 Jesus Cisneros, a former PRO and National Referee and current Cal South Manager of Kern County Soccer Park and Partnerships. “The ideology of our program remains the same: to be humble and a student of the game. Referees with positive attitudes, who build relationships within our community, and display high work rate will succeed in soccer and in life.”

Guzman Jr. adds, “We are not only focused on creating professional referees, we are focused on shaping the next leaders in our sport and beyond.”

Congratulations to the Cal South Referee Program for continuing to solidify and expand upon its status as the top referee program in the country.


Cal South Referees Selected to 2024 US Youth Soccer National Championships: Matthew Kuras, Jay Schlesinger, Felix Granados, Sergio Amezcua, Edwar Hernandez, Cesar Flores, Rafael Bonilla, Micheal Almeida, Anthony Almeida

Cal South Referees Selected to 2024 US Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup: Jesse Santamaria, Jadon Wexler, Diego Gonzalez, Daniel Furman, Mario Moreno, Tyler Peltier, Olivia Fernflores, Luis Guerrero

Cal South Referees Selected to 2024 USYS Far West Regionals and Far West Presidents Cup: Anthony Almeida, Micheal Almeida, Rafael Bonilla, Nancy Camarillo, Jose Catalan, Austin Cozzi, Sergio Amezcua, Cesar Flores, Brandon Garcia, Felix Granados, Iain Hannant, Edwar Hernandez, Stefan Knoerr, Justin Knoll, Matthew Kuras, Jay Schlesinger, David Schlesinger, Matthew Tanious, Kevin Zelaya, Jazmin Hernandez, Diego Gonzalez, Luis Guerrero, Mario Moreno, Tyler Peltier, Carter Sand, Jesse Santamaria, Adam Schlicht, Tehya Tovar, Jadon Wexler, Claire Alles, Daniel Furman, Olivia Fernflores

Cal South Referee Mentor Program Coaches: Ali Hacock, Fabio Tovar, Rick Rehm, Robert Karman, Gabriel Goldsman, Thomas Bobadilla, Kia Dehpanah, Jesus Cisneros, Oscar Mota, Patrick Alles, Chris Salmon

Cal South Mentor Program FIFA Alumni: Baldomero Toledo, Ian Anderson, Frank Anderson, Kevin Stott, Juan Guzman Jr., Fabio Tovar, Felisha Mariscal, Eduardo Mariscal, Polo Mariscal, Marlene Duffy, Tim Ford, Cameron Blanchford

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