We are sad to report that Bob Evans, former FIFA Referee and U.S. Soccer National Director of Referee Instruction, passed away this morning. Bob published several publications over the years, including The Art of Refereeing: Techniques and Advice for Every Soccer Referee and For the Good of the Game: Modern Techniques and Practical Wisdom for Today’s Soccer Referee. He also wrote for the blog, For the Integrity of Soccer.
Bob grew up in South Wales and traveled to Canada to earn his master’s degree in geology in the early 1960s. At the same time, Evans was still playing the game, but an injury led him to look at the refereeing side.
“I started playing in a Nova Scotia soccer league and was active as a player, but in one league game I broke my leg,” Evans told US Soccer in a 2013 interview. “I was out for 12 months before I could play again, but I still went to the games. I was sitting there one day, commenting about refereeing, and it was an older gentleman who told me, ‘With your knowledge of the game and the laws, you ought to take the referee exam.’ I took the exam, passed it and qualified in training.”
Evans was involved in the North American Soccer League from 1972-85. He was on the FIFA Panel of Referees starting in 1979, and had the opportunity to work 15 international matches over an eight-year stretch, including three trips to Asia and an Olympic Games. After retiring from international officiating, he served as U.S. Soccer’s National Director of Referee Instruction from 1987-90.