The success stories for one Ontario match official keep rolling in.
The 2015 International Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding work as an active referee or assistant referee within their provincial/territorial and/or national association and has become a leader to their fellow referees while one the FIFA's List of Match Officials, was presented to Joe Fletcher.
While officiating at the London Olympics would be the pinnacle of most referees' careers, London represented a stepping stone to his ultimate goal: working the pitch in Brazil at the 2014 World Cup. From refereeing house league soccer in Niagara Falls, ON, when he was a teenager, to working at some of the largest stages in the game, including the 2013 FIFA Under-20 World Cup final in Colombia. In 2014, he participated in the FIFA World Cup™ and closed out the year by being appointed to the MLS Cup Final.
The Awards Ceremony concluded with the introduction of three new Life Members recognised for their outstanding service, commitment and overall contribution to Canadian soccer: Sonia Denoncourt, Colin Jose and Richard Labrom.
Since 1978, Sonia Denoncourt has been a pioneer in the field of refereeing and has written her name into Quebec, Canadian and international soccer history. She was the first female referee to obtain her FIFA international badge, as well as the first female referee to officiate an A-League game in 1991. She became FIFA's first female referee and was the first woman to referee men's first division matches, in El Salvador in 1996, and then in Brazil in 1997. Before her retirement in July 2004, Denoncourt was the only referee in Canada, either male or female, to have officiated in 100 international matches. She later went on to become FIFA referee instructor, Head of FIFA women's referee development and has recently came back to the region as CONCACAF's Director of Refereeing.