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Futsal Officials Shine at the 2024 Ontario Winter Games in Thunder Bay

By Staff, 03/04/24, 10:00AM EST


Ontario Soccer is proud to recognize the eight Ontario Match Officials and Director of Officials David Figliano who represented at the 2024 Ontario Winter Games in Thunder Bay, which doubled as the U18 Ontario Futsal Cup Finals.

Play. Inspire. Unite.

Eight Ontario Soccer Match Officials recently had the chance to hone their craft at the 2024 Ontario Winter Games in Thunder Bay, which served as the backdrop of the U18 Boys’ and Girls’ Ontario Futsal Cup Finals. Leading the team was David Figliano, the Director of Officials, whose guidance and leadership played a crucial role in the success of the tournament.

Congratulations and kudos to the following eight Match Officials who stepped up to the plate and delivered some truly exceptional performances.

  • Dan Popescu
  • Kevin McEleney
  • Nick Vagenas
  • Amanda Kwan
  • Donia Torabi
  • Tim Wong
  • Mahboob Gulestani
  • Alex Fletcher

“The officials did a great job overall and acted professionally both on and off the pitch which made my Director of Officials job both really easy, and difficult when it came to deciding the final appointments,” said Figliano.

Reflecting on the event, Figliano also expressed his appreciation for the efforts behind the scenes. "Although the overall administrative side of the games was rough from the start, the actual tournament was run extremely well, and my praise goes out to Robyn McComb and Ontario Soccer Competitions staff for all their hard work. This was one of the more smoothly run tournaments I've been a part of, and the officials all did a great job."

Even with a limited pool of Futsal Match Officials – particularly with availability over Family Day weekend – this opportunity summoned a deeply dedicated and highly skilled team of Officials who ensured every game ran smoothly throughout the weekend.

There’s plenty of opportunity for Match Officials in the world of Futsal – and Figliano was sure to emphasize the benefits of crossing over from game to game.

“From a Match Official’s perspective, futsal is quite similar to outdoor football however there are a few differences which create a great opportunity and challenge to extend your refereeing skills,” he explained. “Referees develop their skill acquisition, decision making and experience far quicker than is typically experienced in outdoor football. For these reasons, outdoor referees who also referee futsal have noticed a significant improvement in their ability to recognize fouls and quicker decision making. When these referees re-start refereeing outdoor the following season, they have been better prepared, more composed and overall perform consistently well.”

Figliano also discussed the growth of futsal in Ontario and across Canada. Starting in 2015 with only two men's teams, the Futsal Canadian Championships have expanded significantly over the years. The most recent national championship in 2023 saw women’s futsal included for the first time and Clubs from eight provinces and territories participate. The competition featured 206 players and 64 Coaches/Administrators, making it the largest Futsal amateur competition Canada Soccer had ever held to date!

As Ontario Soccer continues to foster the growth of futsal, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Match Officials and Director of Officials who played a pivotal role in the success of the Ontario Winter Games and the Ontario Futsal Cup Finals. Their dedication and passion for the sport inspire us all and reaffirm Ontario Soccer's commitment to excellence in officiating.