In the last three months, the Ontario Soccer Match Officials Development program has gotten to see a lot more of the province than they normally would.
In an effort to the get word out about Long Term Match Official Development (LTOD) they have been logging some long hours in this education and outreach phase.
Since Jan. 24, on just LTOD alone, they have:
In large part, these sessions are meant to speak with and hear from officials around Ontario on what they think LTOD needs to be.
Nicky Pearson, Ontario Soccer Manager of Match Official Development was pleased by the feedback from their surveying.
“It is eye-opening to read our Long Term Official Development surveys, after each event and see that Match Officials are excited that Ontario Soccer has placed Match Officials development into their Strategic Plan.," Pearson said. "The fact that LTOD is the number one priority for technical programming has really made an impact out there in the province.”
"One of the largest issues in our community was the lack of perceived organizational support. Through LTOD, and technical support, our members now see that they are important to Ontario Soccer and that greater value is placed on the role that they play in the success of the game in Ontario," Pearson said.
Tony Camacho, the LTOD Program Lead, expressed that doing this kind of outreach is going to be essential to the LTOD's success.
"We needed to deliver this face to face, this shows the commitment to LTOD to the Match Officials. It is one thing to send out emails and put powerpoints and webinars together, but it is another thing to be able to explain the program in a group setting," Camacho said. "It validates the support for this program from Soccer Operations Department to the community. It allows the officials to have a voice and input into the content, and the final deliverables of the program."
"We have seen change in opinions from the officials that attend these sessions – they come in apprehensive, and we receive emails afterwards stating that the LTOD program is needed, how it will help all officials, and how they are happy to see the support from Ontario Soccer," said Camacho.
Gary Miller, Ontario Soccer Technical Director, said this program is an extension of other positive developments happening around the province.
"Ontario Soccer continues to grow and develop the game for the future. Match Officials Development has become a major factor for this growth. The Soccer Operations Department is very pleased with the initial progress of LTOD across the province and the support from the Match Official membership," Miller said.
If you're interested in learning more about LTOD, visit the LTOD Frequently Asked Questions page or email the Match Officials program for more.