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Change dominated 2013 for referees

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It's a brave new world for soccer referees, and changes were evident in 2013 as goal-line technology was installed by the world's best league, 'Ref Cam' made its debut and one of the best hung up her red card.

The Barclays Premier League in Britain installed unparalleled technology in each of its 20 stadiums ahead of the '13-'14 season. The cameras have been around since the FIFA Club World Cup in '11, and looks to be the future of determining ball in-or-out in professional leagues everywhere.

'Ref Cam' was used by Major League Soccer in its annual All-Star Game on July 21 in Kansas City, Mo. Referee Hilario Grajeda wore the head-mounted device, giving ESPN viewers unprecedented access to the referee of a professional game.

And Kari Seitz, the only person to ever referee four World Cups, worked her final international or professional-level game on Oct. 20 in San Antonio, Texas -- a United States vs. Australia friendly.

What do these things have in common? For starters, they each signal a changing of the guard for referees.

The decision of the referee is no long final. The tech wizardry of modern day took care of that.

Think it's so easy to be a referee? Why wouldn't you after watching Grajeda's performance in an exhibition game? He should've worn it for the MLS Cup final.

And Seitz's retirement leaves all referees with one fewer example to follow.

So in summation 2013 brought more oversight, more willingly-placed-upon-your-person oversight, and the loss of one of the professional's all-time greats.

Bring on 2014!


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