Silbo's Webinar "Moving Up the Officiating Ladder": Insights from Top Officials & Our Jim Kirk

Apr 23rd, 2020

This seminar includes perspectives from diverse individuals within the community on how to move up in officiating and beyond:

  • Alan Kelly (Pro), MLS Soccer Referee
  • Ryan Christian (College), College Baseball Umpire & Basketball Official
  • Jim Kirk (Business), President of

Areas Covered

  • Overcoming Mistakes / Moving On
  • Managing Ups & Downs of a Season & Career
  • Self-Analysis / How Critical Should Be of Your Game?
  • Importance of Camps & Clinics
  • Communication Essentials
  • Significance of Appearance
  • Health & Shape in Officiating
  • Moving Up Outside Officiating through Officiating Skills


  • Why Alan & Ryan got started officiating and when they realized they wanted to make a career out of it
  • How Alan went from adult league soccer referee to 3 time MLS Referee of the Year
  • How Alan & Ryan are staying in shape during the COVID pandemic
  • Jim's insights on the benefits of being a team player in officiating & business

Guest Panelists

Alan Kelly

Alan Kelly is a professional soccer referee from Ireland – now residing in the US – and has officiated across the world. 

He has officiated in the upper echelons of soccer, including the FIFA World Cup qualifiers and UEFA Champions League. 

Moreover, Alan is the 3x MLS Referee of the Year, in 2015, 2016, and 2018. He also comes from a family of sports officials, who inspired his own passion for the vocation.

Jim KirkJim Kirk is the President of as well as a former varsity baseball umpire. Jim’s connections in sports run deep: he has served on the board of UMPS Care Charities, the charity of Major League Baseball umpires. He was also named UMPS Care Ambassador of the Year in 2015. His company is the official supplier of Minor League Baseball Umpires and the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy.

Webinar Hosts

Ryan Christian
Ryan Christian
is a Silbo community manager & 8-year Division I basketball and baseball official. He has also served twenty years with the City of Raleigh Parks & Recreation’s Athletic Department.

Brendan Szulik is the co-founder and CEO of Silbo, a digital marketplace connecting qualified sports officials to amateur sports games. He is the author of Whistleblower, which reveals the harsh truths of the amateur officiating industry and sheds light on the technologies, policies, and solutions that will make amateur sports officiating more accessible, enjoyable, and sustainable.

Brendan SzulikHe resides in North Carolina, where he has officiated basketball, lacrosse, softball, and baseball for nearly a decade.

He graduated with distinction from Duke University; is a member of Phi Beta Kappa; and holds an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a frequent speaker and presenter on the officiating and youth sports industries, sportsmanship, and entrepreneurship.

View Silbo's entire webinar series here. | Visit the Silbo Website


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About the Author

Picture of Josh Mann

Pro School Umpire Graduate Josh Mann

A native of Chicago, Josh graduated from the University of Arizona with degrees in Economy & Industry and Sports Management. He attended the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy and Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School, umpired in the Frontier Professional Baseball League, and worked in the Chicago Cubs Organization. Josh enjoys baseball, hockey, golf and spending time with his dog Wrigley. He spent 4 years as’s marketing assistant and recently relocated to Arizona.


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