The group of referees appointed to officiate Copa America Centenario gathered in Chicago earlier this week to go through final preparation before taking on their first assignments at the tournament. Fifty-eight referees, assistant referees and reserve officials representing 18 nations across CONCACAF and CONMEBOL went through on-the-field exercises as well as classroom to prepare for game situations and other processes during the tournament.
"For us, we understand the referees’ teams are the same as the teams that are here to play”, said Copa America Centenario Referees Committee President Wilson Seneme. “We prepared these referees, not only with work in class, also on the field with the goal to train with players and game situations, so they are prepared to face real game situations later in the tournament.” With the unique nature of the tournament combining two confederations – CONMEBOL and CONCACAF – Seneme said the work done in Chicago earlier this week was all the more important to make sure all referees are on the same page. “We want to speak one single language: the rules of the game on the field,” he said. “We are gathered here to plan, adjust concepts, have consistency within both confederations and share criteria to do the best during games.” As the United States gets ready to welcome some of the world’s best players for Copa America Centenario, it will also welcome some of the world’s best officials, something Seneme hopes players realize as they kick off the tournament. “We want players to acknowledge there are great referees here,” he said. “We have World Cup referees, who are at the same level of these players. It is a great party, we are going to have great players, but referees are here to do their job. Aside from how important players are, the referees have to be very prepared”.