Professional Soccer Referees Association - Through Unity, Strength

Part V - An Open Letter to our Referee Community

April 4, 2024

Dear Colleagues, Supporters, Family, and Friends:

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

By now you will have seen the news that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has been ratified. This would not have been possible without the resolve, commitment, and support from each of you. You, the referee community, continued to say “no thanks” as the weeks went on, and for that we are forever grateful.

We feel MLS and PRO unnecessarily created many hurdles during this process. While we anticipated most of them, it was disappointing to see some actually put into action. Throughout it all, we resolutely used our voice and our platform to stand up for ourselves and all officials who aspire to make a career of officiating professional soccer in the US and Canada. You stood with us, expecting us to take the public and private attacks, and we were proud to do so.

Now it’s time for us to put these conflicts behind us. We move forward in a spirit of professionalism, community, and reconciliation. We are excited to return to the pitch to service the game we each love so dearly. When we step on the field this season, we will do so with hearts full of gratitude for the support of the community who helped us navigate this difficult situation.

To the State Referee Associations who supported us: we saw your work, and we appreciate it. The PSRA is not an ‘opponent’ of USSF or any affiliated organization; the issues we work to resolve are the same as, or related to, the issues you navigate on a regular basis. Some State Referee Associations were not fully “in the know” and felt uneasy on how to handle the last few months, so let us be clear: the PSRA aims to improve the environment in which soccer officials work, both on and off the field, so that officials are treated as professionals and can fully demonstrate their skills and produce their best performance during games. That’s a goal we can all rally behind.

For those who have aspirations to one day officiate in MLS, this CBA further improves your future work environment. For those who foresee a career path leading toward other professional leagues, PSRA has already won significant improvements in working conditions and compensation through the PRO2 CBA ratified last year. The effects of this new CBA will also benefit Officials working in those leagues. For those not yet working professional matches, PSRA will continue to fight to raise the standards for how all soccer referees are treated, regardless of league or level; a rising tide lifts all boats.

This CBA is an essential component of our effort to improve the professionalization of soccer officiating in the US and Canada. The success of our officials on the world stage is unequivocal evidence that officials from the US and Canada are world-class. We have 15 officials with World Cup experience; 10 years ago, before our first CBA, we had one. Leagues, team executives, coaches, players, and fans have shown they recognize the difference that experienced, highly trained officials make: the positive impact we have on the professional game.

As we move forward in the coming months and years, we look to implement some great suggestions we’ve heard on how to address the challenges faced by the referee community. Hearing these ideas has been impactful. Whether it’s educational opportunities, mentoring opportunities at local events, using our voice to help fix issues within the referee landscape, or other related topics, we are encouraged and eager to expand the presence of the PSRA. Our officials have long embraced the opportunity to give back to the community that has given us so much and to the game we all love and serve.

If there’s any question you ever need answered, please let us know - we’d love to hear from you:

With sincere thanks and gratitude,

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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