A Letter from Germany
By WNYSRA Referee Amanda Ross

I was honored to be appointed by U.S. Soccer to attend the CISM World Military Football Tournament June 18-30, 2012 as an Assistant Referee.  Also representing the USA was FIFA Referee Margaret Domka.  The Tournament took place in Warrendorf, Germany on June 18-20, 2012.  This is an annual international competition, and the teams are made up of military personnel from each country.  Teams from eight countries competed in the tournament.

Over the course of the tournament, I had the opportunity to work with officials from Germany, Brazil, South Korea, the Netherlands, and Belgium.  The Head Referee for the tournament was Erich Schneider, a former FIFA Assistant Referee from Germany who officiated at the 1998 World Cup in France.  Erich analyzed and evaluated the crews after each game, something comparable to our assessment process.  

Margaret and I were honored to be assigned the semi-final match between South Korea and Brazil.  Margaret was the Referee and I was AR1.  We worked with two other officials from the Netherlands (AR2) and Germany (4th official).  It was an exciting game, with South Korea winning by a score of 3-1. 

One of the most challenging aspects of this tournament was learning to communicate with referees, players and coaches with whom I did not share a common language.  I was assigned to work with a Brazilian referee who spoke only Portuguese.  Since I speak only English, we obviously had concerns about communication.  We sat at computers and used Google Translate to do our pre-game.  It was also helpful that Margaret spoke Spanish and the similarity of the two languages allowed them to communicate if they spoke very slowly.  On the field, body language and appropriate signals were critical to communication. 

This tournament was a wonderful opportunity that allowed me to gain valuable experience that will help me improve greatly as a referee.