Alan Kelly takes PRO leadership position upon retirement as MLS official

Three-time MLS Referee of the Year Alan Kelly has been named Manager of Senior Referees for the Professional Referee Organization (PRO) following his retirement from officiating at the end of the 2021 season, it was announced Sunday.

Kelly, who was named MLS Referee of the Year in 2015, 2016 and 2018, will report to Mark Geiger, PRO’s director of senior match officials. One of his primary responsibilities will be the development of less experienced referees in PRO’s senior group.

Kelly made his MLS debut in March 2014 and went on to referee MLS Cups in 2016 and 2018. He worked 42 matches during the 2021 MLS season as a referee, Fourth Official and Video Assistant Referee, his last being the Western Conference Final between the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake.

“I am thrilled to be joining such an experienced support staff in the role of Manager of Senior Referees with PRO,” Kelly said in a statement. “I am also very excited to have the opportunity to work with a talented group of match officials in a league that continues to grow in popularity and relevance not only here in North America but also around the world. I believe the experience I have gained throughout my career can assist this group in their respective careers.”

Kelly was one of five officials to announce their retirement Sunday, joining longtime referees Baldomero Toledo and Dave Gantar and assistant referees Eric Boria and Philippe Briere.

“Dave, Alan, Baldo, Eric, and Philippe have provided excellent service to soccer in North America during their careers on the field, and their attitudes away from it have left inspiring legacies for up-and-coming officials who look to follow in their footsteps,” PRO general manager Howard Webb said. “We would like to thank these officials for their work in the game so far, and everyone at PRO wishes them all the best in their future endeavors. We are sure they will tackle their next steps with the same commitment, drive, and passion that they showed in their officiating roles.”

Baldomero Toledo PRO

Toledo made his MLS debut in 204 and was the MLS Cup referee in 2008 and 2010, plus served as the fourth official for MLS Cup 2009. He refereed his 300th MLS regular-season game in October.

Gantar worked just over 100 games as an MLS referee after making his league debut in 2010, another 83 as a fourth official and an additional 50 as a video assistant referee.

Boria made his league debut in 2008 and was an assistant referee for 175 MLS games, while also serving as an assistant video assistant referee for 14 matches.

Briere, who made his MLS debut in 2009, worked 118 games as an assistant referee and eight as an assistant video assistant referee.