Play. Inspire. Unite.
Ontario Soccer welcomed 14 Match Officials from across the province to a comprehensive training event on January 27. The cohort was comprised of individuals who have been accepted into Canada Soccer’s Provincial Upgrading Program (PUG) and/or recent graduates of the Regional Upgrading Program (RUG).
The event, held at the prestigious BMO Training Grounds in Toronto, aimed to equip these developing Match Officials with the necessary tools and knowledge for the upcoming season and their journey ahead in the world of officiating.
This day-long training featured a dynamic combination of on-field components and in-classroom sessions. The practical on-field experience allowed participants to hone their skills and apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting. These sessions focused on tactics and reading pressure, denying obvious goal-scoring opportunities, and free kick management.
Following the on-field activities, an informative classroom session highlighted communication and the use of body language, while also shedding light on the pathway and expectations associated with being a part of the Provincial Upgrading Program.
“This was a great day to bring our Provincial Upgrading Officials together to learn what it takes to get to the next level. I am excited to see this group continue to progress through the ranks and become the best Match Officials they can,” said Kurtis Portengen, Coordinator, Match Officials at Ontario Soccer.
Initiatives such as these help to shape the expectations of current PUG candidates as they embark on a year of training and prepare them for success in the prestigious program. Additionally, it offers valuable insights for recent RUG graduates who may be interested in progressing to the next level in their officiating careers.
“It was a special opportunity to learn from experienced instructors and collaborate with other development-oriented Match Officials from across Ontario. The teachings presented through this event provided new insights regarding career advancement as a Match Official, and offered new ways to study and train independently which will enable my continued growth to ensure success in the future," said Liam Tremblay, Ontario Soccer Match Official, Toronto Soccer Association.
Special appreciation goes to the dedicated instructors, League 1 Ontario Referee Coach Matthew Arduini and current National Referee Fabrizio Stasolla, whose expertise and guidance played a pivotal role in making the event a resounding success. Big thanks to Toronto FC, as well, for allowing the use of their facility.
For those interested in learning more about Upgrading Programs for Match Officials and the opportunities they offer, please visit Ontario Soccer's Upgrading Programs web page.