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In It For The Long Term - Featuring: Waterloo SC

By Staff, 03/20/18, 5:15PM EDT


Paul Burns, Waterloo Executive Director, spoke about their LTOD efforts

Play. Inspire. Unite. 

A five-year strategic initiative, the Long Term Official Development (LTOD) program is now an integral part of what Ontario Soccer delivers.

LTOD will provide a standards-based education and development program, through strong leadership, inclusivity and support. 

As part of that, the In It For The Long Term series puts a focus on the match officials, clubs and districts who are dedicated to their role and are taking development seriously. 

This week, In It For The Long Term speaks with Paul Burns, Executive Director at Waterloo Soccer Club, about their club's efforts on the LTOD front. 

You recently met with LTOD leadership and learned more about LTOD. What was the big take away for you from that meeting?

The big takeaways for us were Ontario Soccer’s support in recruitment of a Club Head Referee as well as match official mentorship, education and overall development. 

The work going into standardization of a Club Head Referee throughout the province. 

Creating communication lines between Clubs, Districts, Province and National Association.

The possibility of collaboration between Clubs within a district regarding Match Officials and their development.

You have provided 3 x 2 hours slots of free field time for your local officials to practice and perfect their skills. Why did you do this?

The Club would like to support Match Official Development even though the Club Head Referee position is vacant at this current time.

We wanted to support Ontario Soccer’s message of Long Term Official Development and provide an development opportunity for match officials in SWRSA.

Lowell Williamson - as a local instructor, assessor and mentor - what do you see as the biggest benefits for this practical training?

Practical training has been one of the missing components of developing match officials at all levels.

Opportunities like this give match officials a chance to practice their skills in a supportive and friendly environment.

In the past, officials have attended their certification course and on occasion attend in-class sessions which helps build their knowledge but they haven’t had the opportunity to apply their knowledge and develop their techniques.

Learning by doing is key but simply officiating games, while it gains experience, it is not the best circumstance to learn.

Practical training sessions provide the learning environment necessary to succeed.

There is truth in Arnold Palmer’s quote, “The more I practice the luckier I get.” 

From the perspective of a mentor and assessor, training sessions allow for a less formal interaction with match officials – it can help build the sense of community and working toward a common goal.

Paul - as the new ED of Waterloo, what other ideas do you have to improve/enhance your Match Officials development program?

  1. Recruitment of a Club Match Official Manager (Club Head Referee).
  2. Continued support of LTOD through field and classroom space.
  3. Further development of our Club’s match official development plan that aligns with our Club Technical Plan and Club Strategic Plan.
  4. Provide online resources provided by Ontario Soccer and Canada Soccer.
  5. Use our online club management platform to increase communication between the Club and its match officials.
  6. Develop relationships with the District’s Match Official Training and Development Officer and other Club Head Referees in the SWRSA.

LTOD is an initiative of Ontario Soccer, what are your thoughts on the program and where do you see the biggest impact for your club?

The biggest impact will be in the continued education of all match officials and support/ guidance for new match officials entering the game.

LTOD is helping to create the same standards for all Clubs and Districts’ match officials across the province.  This coincides and supports LTPD, OPDL and Club Excellence.

Creating a support and development system similar to coach and player development.

LTOD will help strengthen the game experience across all levels throughout Ontario. 

Learn more about Long-Term Match Officials Development

If you want to learn more about LTOD and what it could mean for your development as a match official, visit the LTOD section on the Ontario Soccer website.