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Referee czar Peter Walton pleased with opening weekend performances

06 March 1:31 pm

Referee czar Peter Walton pleased with opening weekend performances

By Charles Boehm

When it comes to the men in the middle, the 2013 MLS season is off to a good start, says Peter Walton, the head of the Professional Referees Association, in a new post on the PRO website Wednesday

PRO was created a year ago to assign, manage and evaluate officiating in MLS, MLS Reserve League and lower-division leagues as well as other top North American competitions like CONCACAF Champions League and the US Open Cup.

Its stated goals: "To increase the quality of officiating in U.S. and Canadian professional leagues, develop more professional-quality officials at a younger age, and produce officials who will represent the United States and Canada in FIFA competitions."

Walton, a retired referee with two decades of experience overseeing matches in the English Premier League, FA Cup and elsewhere in his native country, pronounced himself pleased with the efforts of his officials over opening weekend. 

"It doesn’t seem three months since that epic MLS Cup Final in LA, but here we are at the start of another season," writes Walton. "Saturday saw the kick-off to the 18th MLS season, the first for the Professional Referee Organization. After a busy pre-season it was so important that we, the officials, got off to a good start; and from what I saw and what others have said, we did just that."

Walton also announced that PRO will be producing a "plays of the week" segment to shine a light on examples of effective refereeing practices over the course of the season. PRO also communicates with the public via its official Twitter feed, @PROreferees.