Orion Stradford talks about his travel to El Paso, TX to do PDL games. Bob Croft and Kris Grano also traveled to cover these matches.
On July 8th and July 16th I was assigned to work on PDL games in El Paso between the Chivas-Patriots and the Dallas-Ft Worth Tornadoes and the Chivas-Patroits vs the West TX Utd Sockers. The PDL is considered the bottom division of the professional ranks of US Soccer, and is a developmental league for MLS scouts to find players. Although most of these players are not paid, the atmosphere of the games is of a professional caliber. The expectations of the referees are also to perform at a professional level.
In the games that we did, we arrived two hours before kickoff to inspect the field and meet with the referee liason. In the pregame conference with the referee, much of the topics covered were reviewing the USSF Directives, and discussing how to handle key players. In our warm up for the game, we did an organized warm up together for 20 minutes. At both games, the center referee had requested that we all wear matching black shirts to show teamwork.
During the games, I did notice a high level of play and that our our discussion over the Directives was very important, as these games had many incidents that related to them. I had to draw on my knowledge of AR involvement, injury management, and mass confrontation.
In both games we were assessed. The assessors at this level do not miss anything. Everything that happens in the games are open for discussion afterwards. Each correct or incorrect decision is dissected and brought up and talked about.
Overall the experience of doing these games was very rewarding and I hope for more opportunities to do games at that level.