Rubiel Vazquez – FIFA Referee


FLSRC is proud to announce that last fall, US Soccer recommended to FIFA that Florida’s Rubiel Vazquez be appointed to the International Panel of Referees.  On January 1, 2020 the recommendation became an official appointment.  We are extremely proud of Rubiel and his story is a true model of the pathway to reach the pinnacle of the referee world.

Rubiel Vazquez started refereeing at the age of 16. Refereeing was one way that Rubiel was able to make some money to enjoy his weekends. After high school he went on and played college soccer at Florida Memorial University where he played for 3 years as a goalkeeper. Even with a tough practice and game schedule, he still kept refereeing on the weekends. After playing college soccer his love for soccer was still there and this was when he turned all his focus on refereeing.  He was selected to attend 4 regional youth events and then selected to attend 3 national youth championships.

His first regional event was at Baton Rouge in 2010.  During that tournament he was appointed as a 4th official on a U16 Girls quarter-final.  His assessor failed Rubiel’s 4th official’s performance as the assessor thought Rubiel should have been more proactive in the technical area dealing with the coach’s behavior.  When questioned in the delegation meeting that night, and asked what he did that caused him to fail, he reply, “I didn’t do anything.”  This was true, the FLSRC video showed him doing nothing.  It was not funny at the time, but 10 years later, we still laugh about it.  The video is sometimes used for 4th official training.

In 2012 Rubiel became a state (regional) referee. It was during that time his opportunities started to come his direction. He made his professional debut (USL) in 2014. Two years later a big step came about when he was called up to become an MLS referee and part of PRO. He made  his first MLS center debut on July 4th, 2017, Minnesota vs Columbus. Later that year he would be in charge of the NASL Final between San Francisco and New York Cosmos. During the 2019 season Rubiel took charge of 20 MLS games and was a member of the referee crew of the 2019 MLS Cup as the fourth official.  He also was the center referee for the 2019 NCAA Mens Championship Game between Virginia and Georgetown.

This year, 2020, is the year that all of Rubiel’s hard work would pay off.  Rubiel was awarded his FIFA badge.  In 10 short years since failing that 4th official assignment at a regional youth tournament, Florida’s Rubiel Vazquez has attained the honor and responsibility to become one of several new FIFA Referees in 2020 representing US Soccer specifically, and the United States in general, at the international level.  This extraordinary achievement is an ultimate example that if anyone sets their mind to something and is willing to make sacrifices, any goal is obtainable.

Thank you Rubiel for showing the way.

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