Julio Cesar Davila
US Referee Connection is pleased to welcome Julio Cesar Davila, who is the MLS Referee Liaison for the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA both of which have their home field at the Home Depot Center. He is also a USSF referee grade 7.
Don Julio was born in Guatemala and played soccer since he was five years old. He used to play in the Golden Soccer League but had to stop playing in 1983 because a shoulder injury.
He was involved with AYSO in La Mirada California where he helped as Chief Coach and as a referee while watching his two kids develop their soccer skills. He also coaches a successful adult team ,“Los Rojos” del Municipal which played some friendly games against professional teams from Mexico until 1990.
Most people know him from his involvement as president of the Orange Soccer League in Southern California serving for nine years, and vice-president of the California Soccer Association South, where he built a close relationship with, the soccer community, and CAFLA a long time Referee Association in Southern California. Julio has received two awards from CAFLA.
He is well known for his use of the expression: “tranquilo” which means “relax”.
Don Julio, please accept a warm welcome to US Referee Connection.
What is your position in MLS ?
- I serve as the Referee Liaison between the MLS League, the home and
visiting teams, and the referees for that particular game at the Home Depot
Center. I have been doing this since 1998 with MLS, and for CONCACAF
and international matches since 1987.
How many people work as a Liaison like you?
- Well it is supposed to be one for each team registered in the league with
my exception because I serve as the Liaison for both the LA Galaxy and
Chivas USA, so about eighteen people.
What is your routine before each game?
-Well there are a lot of details before, during and after the game.
I usually try to call the referees three days before the game to ensure there are no special situations and they are ready for the game and allow time to get together to travel to the stadium so as to arrive two and half hours before the game.
Two days before the game I drive to the Home Depot Center to meet with the operations manager for the home team. I go over the details, like parking for the referees, collect badges or passes and things like that.
The night before the game I start charging the electric substitution board and check the vanishing spray bottles and the back up statistics for the 4th official form as well as the manual sub-board.
On the game day I usually pick up the referees from their hotel and transport them to the stadium at least two and a half hours before the game.
And because I have to provide a Referee Liaison game report to the League after the game, I need to pay attention to certain details.
-The referees inspect the field, check the number of soccer balls (14) and their pressure.
-Ensure the facility meets the requirements for that game.
-Team administrators present their official roster and uniforms to the referees.
-Maintain radio communication with the Operation manager of the home team to ensure referees enter the field on time so the game starts on schedule.
- Serve as a backup for the 4th official, taking notes of goals scored, player substitutions, cautions or send offs. In this last case I also have to ensure when an ejected player leaves the field, he goes through the tunnel towards his team’s locker room, etc.
What else you do besides your work as Liaison?
- I run the Copa Jarritos tournament from March to November every year. It is played in different areas of Southern and Northern California, Las Vegas and Arizona. It is a tournament for youth divisions U6,U8,U10,U12, U14 and U16.
Are there’s any anecdotes or stories you may want to share with us?
- One time when I was in charge of transporting the referee crew as a referee liaison to an international friendly game between Mexico and Argentina in San Diego in 2011, the traffic was so slow that I was pretty sure we wouldn’t be able to make it on time. Suddenly the bus that was transporting the Argentina team drove by next to us escorted by the police. Of course they were going really fast, so I decided to jump in the line behind them. The police did not like that at all, but when we yelled at them that the “referees for that game were in the car” they let us tag along. It was funny but we made it on time!
Any special moment?
- The CONCACAF Gold Cup Final, and the MLS Cup finals in 2008 and 2011, were very special. Being so different from the regular season matches, they were a privilege. The atmosphere is intense, and there are a lot of things to coordinate before and during the game. This is always a special moment in my job.
A sad moment?
- Not particípating as a referee liaison in the 2012 MLS Cup.
What is your opinion about the refereeing in United States?
- There has been a big improvement. We can see a lot of talent and promising
referees. We have nothing to envy from the refereeing in Europe or England.
We have good quality referees. I can’t mention names because there are so many
What is your opinion about the new Professional Referee Organization?
- PRO has very professionals referees, I think it is going to bring a lot of benefits to
refereeing and the game. We need to wait and see the results in the coming years.
What do you think about the Respect Campaign?
- It is like the “Fair Play” campaign. We need to respect each other on and off the field. FIFA is always promoting this concept but not too many follow it. I know AYSO embraces the concept with their new campaign “Respect starts with me”.
I always like their philosophy of Balanced Teams because it allows all the kids to have fun.
Any plans for the near future?
- I have the wish to become a Match Commissioner for CONCACAF. I hope this happens some day in the near future.
I want to express my gratitude to all Referees,Commissioners, Assessors, Referee Coach/Mentor, Referee Inspectors and press for all their support during all this years.
Congratulation to US Referee Connection, for your support of referees and also for giving valuable information about the referee community, I wish you the best, Thank you very much and always “Tranquilo.”
Here are some comments from people who knows Don Julio :
“Julio has been a supporter of referees for many decades, since he was leading the Orange Soccer League in Southern California. He understands and embraces the value that referees bring to the game and is always looking out for them. Julio has become a great friend in soccer and a true professional at his job”. Thomas Bobadilla, AYSO National Referee Administrator
"Julio is one of the best at what he does. I know without a doubt, that when we the referees come to town to work a game and Julio is taking care of us, we can fully focus on the task on the field. Because Julio is good at what he does, it gives us less to worry about and this is important as the referees already have so much to deal with both on and off the field. Julio doesn't just do what he does at the HDC but also in many different events including the national teams from different countries. Julio is the MAN!". Ricardo Salazar, FIFA and MLS Referee
"Julio Davila is one of the best referee liaisons in the league. He understands what we need both inside and outside the locker room. He's professional, yet relaxed - "tranquilo" - as his nickname goes. And on top of it he's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. Without Julio we wouldn't be as successful on the field in Los Angeles". George Gansner, FIFA and MLS Assistant Referee
“Julio is one of the best liaisons in the business. Always on top of everything so we never have to worry. Goes above and beyond what is required of him”. Chris Penso, MLS National Referee
“My Respects to Mr. Davila his dedication an innovation to his craft is Top Class.”…“Tranquilo”, Juan Guzman, MLS National Referee
"Talking about Julio Davila is talking about professionalism, Julio is an icon in the Southern California soccer community , he's known in every single corner of cal-south as 'Tranquilo,' relax for Spanish. He has been an essential part on the growing of our beautiful sport. Julio has participated in every single aspect of soccer, as player, as coach, as referee, very good by the way; as a promoter, as CONCAFAF and FIFA delegate, and of course as a referee liaison, I have had the fortune to know Julio for years, we have worked together in many games and no matter how things turn, difficult or worst, he has always remained "Tranquilo".
I finish saying that Julio is an excellent human being, and I feel very fortunate to be his friend". Ramon Hernandez, MLS National Referee
"Working with Julio is always a pleasure. He is one of the most professional people in the league and he makes all the referees jobs much easier. He takes care of so many things for us, so we only need to worry about the 90 minutes on the field." Chris Strickland, MLS National Referee
"Julio is one of the best liaisons in the business. He always has everything we need which assures me that we won't have any issues. There are a lot of minor things that are really critical (ie extra batteries) to our performance on the field. Julio is always on top of his game and prepared to assist us with any issues we may have." Chico Grajeda, MLS National Referee
Don Julio, thank you very much for your kind and insightful contribution to our Referee Community.