People get involved in officiating for many different reasons. One thing we all have in common is the desire to do well. Goals can vary from making a little extra cash, to making it all the way to the top. There is no exact formula for success, and it can be measured in a myriad of ways. Join us as we talk to Alan Kelly, professional soccer referee, and Jim Kirk, former high school umpire and President of Ump-Attire.com, and hear their stories as they share their path to success.
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 Kirk is the CEO of Ump-Attire.com 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
Jim’s passion for e-commerce led to his passion for the sports business. He launched multiple e-commerce websites that turned predominantly into one e-commerce retailer: Ump-Attire.com
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 Dept.
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.
He 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.