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USA Taekwondo Overhauls Referee Leadership Structure

Jan. 11, 2021, 1:27 p.m. (ET)

(Jan 11, 2021) - USA Taekwondo has completed its restructure of referee leadership following a comprehensive review and interview process, providing a strong platform moving forward for the recruitment, development and retention of current and future referees in the United States.


Vastly experienced referee John Seiber has been named as the Referee Chairman for the two year 2021-2022 period, and is charged with making the program the most respected in the world and delivering the best educated and most talented referees in any country, along with developing the next generation of referees and referee leadership.


Seiber has named a strong and diverse team of Vice Chairs with a compelling blend of youth and experience, and they are ready to hit the ground running with a review of the Code of Operations, a drive to complete the overhaul of referee education and a goal to make communication between referees, coaches and athletes second to none.


John Seiber said of his appointment: “I am excited to be able to put my long experience into practice in a leadership role – I was excited to hear the organization’s desire and determination not just to fix any problems in the program, but also to drive it forward to become the best in the world. One of my most important intentions is to ensure our amazing young referee talent is recognized, rewarded and retained to secure the future vibrancy of the program. They are the future, and if I can help to prepare them to be ready to take the lead in two years I will consider that a huge success. Along with driving up standards there is much work to do, and I can’t wait to get started.”


Completing the new structure is a newly formed Referee Advisory Council (RAC), populated by veterans of leadership – be it former or current referee Board Members or former Referee Chairs and vice chairs. As with the Referee Chair position, these are two-year appointments reviewed at the end of each term, and the RAC will always be chaired by the current Referee representative on the board, a position currently occupied by Bernard Robinson, who said: “We stand ready to assist Mr. Seiber in any way he and his team needs. The RAC has literally decades of leadership experience within the USA program, and can be a real asset, providing advice and counsel on direction while remaining hands off on day to day operations. Good luck John!”


USA Taekwondo Executive Director Steve McNally said: “Firstly, I must thank outgoing Referee Chair Master Seung Hwan Kim, who has done an outstanding job over the last four years, and I want to congratulate him on his important new role with the Advisory Council. Secondly, I want to congratulate John and his team and express my excitement to see where – and how fast – they can move the program forward. In his interview John’s passion for standards and support for all referees shone through, and I have no doubt great things are ahead. What impressed me the most though was his desire to provide the best referees in the world for the benefit of the athletes – to allow them to shine unencumbered by drama or politics, and be confident that the result will be determined by the athlete’s performance alone.”


McNally continued: “The changes in the referee program are just the first of a number of exciting changes to come this year, as we emerge into a post covid world. The organization has been on a charge towards professionalizing the National Team training and events environments to match our competitor countries, and that work will be completed this year through, among other initiatives, the further expansion of the resident athlete program in Colorado Springs, an exciting announcement on a second Center of Excellence focused on the next generation of athletes, and a spectacular overhaul of the events program to bring it into the 21st century – it would be a crime to come out of covid doing the same old things, and the staff have been working hard to hit the ground running as soon as it is safe to do so. 2020 was an unprecedented year for so many negative reasons, but we believe 2021 will be unprecedented in so many positive ways and look forward to unveiling how that will be achieved over the coming weeks and months. We are ready to go, but, as ever, will continue to put participant safety first and foremost.”


2021-2023 Referee Leadership Appointments


Referee Chair

John Seiber


Vice Chairs

Leslie Cheung
Amely Moras

Angela Troussel

Suk Jung Kim

Shawn McDermott

Elva Adams

Daniel O’Kada

Ray Kyi

Eric Gilson

Raymond Hsu


Referee Advisory Counsel

Bernard Robinson (Chair)

Seung Hwan Kim

Anne Chase

Bruce Harris
John Holloway

Valerie Long
Leon Preston