Professional Soccer Referees Association - Through Unity, Strength

Part III - An Open Letter to our Referee Community

February 14, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

For reference, you can find our previous letters to our referee community here: Part I and Part II.

We write to you this week at a pivotal time in the ongoing negotiations between PSRA and PRO and want to continue being as transparent as possible. We expect to vote on the full tentative agreement this week. In the spirit of proper negotiations and the pending vote, we must refrain from making the content of the offer public at this time, but you should know that PRO/MLS have communicated to the membership that this is their “best offer.” We will not speculate whether the officials in MLS will ratify it or not, but rest assured we are planning ahead for all possible outcomes.

Simultaneous with negotiations, PRO/MLS has allegedly continued to make phone calls to officials asking if you will participate on the field during a potential work stoppage. We continue to hear from more and more of you that you have declined their request. Again, we give you our heartfelt thanks and are grateful for your solidarity.

For those of you contacted by PRO, and who have committed to give PRO a final answer this week, please adhere to their timeline and consider options to work elsewhere in a timely manner. Again, there is no need to feel nervous or treat it as a combative discussion.

There’s no question that each person who reads this letter loves and serves the game, and has sacrificed time from work, family, and other activities for this game. It is also true that, whether you work at the local level or the elite level, you also expect to be treated with respect and fairness, and compensated fairly for your time, travel, and expertise.

With each CBA negotiation, we aim to improve the professionalism, standards, travel, and other working conditions so you can truly look at professional refereeing as your career upon your selection to MLS in the future. We encounter roadblocks from every organization along the way, but the progress we are able to make is real, tangible, and improves every aspect of your officiating career. These leagues and organizations will not make these positive changes for us on their own - we all know this.

Many of you work side by side with the men and women from MLS in other leagues, in other organizations, in your state, or at clinics and tournaments across the country. We are colleagues and friends, and through our dedication over the years to this game, we are striving for improvements for ourselves and for those who come after us. Please support your refereeing brothers and sisters by standing in solidarity with us as we move forward together.

We’d like to take a moment to share a few of the messages of support we’ve received recently:

From an MLS fan: “As both a longtime MLS season ticket holder and proud Union member...Stay strong and thank you!”

From a Concacaf Referee: “We are here for supporting the referees, no worries. One team one dream.”

From a US Soccer Referee: “Thank you. Thank you for standing up for Match Officials all across our country because what you are doing will not only impact the Professional Match Officials of today but it will also impact us up and coming Referees who also aspire to become Professionals in the future. And we understand the sacrifices you are currently making today - going against the grain just to make this right, knowing it can go left at any point. I tip my hat to all of you, and wish you much luck in the upcoming season - I have faith it will all work out for all parties involved.”

From a retired official: “I just read the part 2 letter and wanted to reach out to the executive board to say thank you for all the work that you are doing for the officials.”

We again thank you. If you have any questions, or would just like further information, please let us know - is how you can easily reach us on the PSRA Board, or you can feel free to reach out to anyone working in MLS with whom you may have a connection.

On behalf of all MLS officials,

The PSRA Executive Board

Peter Manikowski, President
Brian Poeschel, VP
Chris Penso, Secretary
Jonathan Johnson, Treasurer
Matt Franz, Member-at-Large
Jeremy Hanson, Member-at-Large
Jason White, Member-at-Large

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