In an effort to help Guam Football Association return to competition, East Asian Football Federation provided support through its Referee Development Program 2020 for almost 20 of the island’s officials, GFA stated in a news release.

The EAFF’s assistance was provided through a two-day virtual training course from Nov. 14-15. Instruction included a theory component from Hong Kong’s Charles Cheung and a practical session taught by Kyle Legozzie, Shawn Spindel, Eladio Manansala and Erlissa Delfin at the GFA National Training Center.

“On behalf of GFA, I would like to thank EAFF for providing our referees this opportunity, as well as the referees who took time during their weekend to learn and gain experience ahead of the return to football leagues in Guam,” said Marvin “Ike” Iseke, GFA general secretary. “Although our leagues are currently suspended, we continue to keep our officials engaged in the sport through courses like this one, so they are focused and ready once we receive the green light to return to the pitch.”

Participants in the course were Trevor Dill, Aidan Flory, Conor Flory, Jason Flory, Jose Gallego, Meto Harmon, Martin Iseke, Kennedy Macatuno, Andrew McCormic, Ska Medina, Garrett Merrill, Kai Pahl, Jadyn Palomares, Jason Palomares, Riley Rama, Sophia San Agustin, Jariah San Gil, and Dhenicca San Juan.

“I was pleased with the turnout we had with all things considered,” said Kyle Legozzie, GFA referee development officer. “Many topics discussed were advanced, but this was a good opportunity for all participants regardless of experience, especially the new and up-and-coming referees, to learn from an internationally licensed instructor.

“They picked up on everything quite well, and I was pleased with their efforts and ability to understand and perform. The more-experienced referees in the course were able to improve on their technique and mechanics as both referee and assistant referee, which also was great to see.”

In Saturday’s theory session, participants interacted with Cheung on four main topics: handball, offside, penalty area incidents, and reading of the game. Participants learned of updates that better clarify a handball infraction and, in the offside discussion, participants gained a better understanding of key concepts of interfering with play, interfering with an opponent, and gaining an advantage. During the discussion on penalty area incidents, referees were instructed on how to better position themselves to get the best angle of view to make decisions, which are crucial, particularly for incidents in the penalty area. The referees also learned more about current trends in the game and how to better anticipate plays, with the idea of referees being more proactive rather than reactive on the pitch.

More than a dozen referees participated in Sunday’s practical session, with modified training to adhere to COVID-19 mandates, GFA stated in its news release.

All participants received brand-new assistant referee flags and began with a session to aid in identifying offside infractions as assistant referees, and the proper signals using the flags. In another session, participants learned about communication on the pitch among referees and positioning, according to the release.

“The main objectives for the course were two things: one, for our local instructors and referees to observe and learn from an experienced and internationally licensed instructor and, two, for us to use what we have observed and learned and apply it moving forward,” Legozzie said. “This will help improve how we conduct sessions and, in turn, improve the overall performance of instructors and referees.

“The main goal for us in 2021 is get the rust off and try to keep things moving forward, not backward, as best we can. We also aim to begin weekly fitness sessions for all referees by next month and make it a permanent part of the program, which hopefully gains traction in 2021. We are looking to hold courses consistently to be ready for the return of the leagues.”

For more information about referee education courses or for information on how to become a GFA referee, contact Legozzie and Delfin via email at referee@theguamfa.com.

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