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How the LTOD training program helped this 58-year-old match official get game ready

By Staff, 06/26/18, 10:15AM EDT


By following the LTOD fitness training program, Mark Roberts was able to prepare for his fitness test

Play. Inspire. Unite. 

Ontario Soccer recently announced the release of the HUB International Presents - LTOD Fitness Training series. 

The first eight videos in this series focus on what every match official needs to do to get themselves in shape for the season. 

“This is what is great about this training program and video series. No matter the grade, age or gender, this training and education can help Match Officials reach their personal fitness goals and potential," Nicky Pearson, Ontario Soccer Manager, Match Officials Development. "Through LTOD, Ontario Soccer are working to ensure every game has a match official that is qualified, fit and educated."

Mark Roberts, a 58-year-old match official from Oshawa, took that message to heart recently when he came across the fitness training program created by Ontario Soccer. 

Last year, his goal was to pass Level 8 on the fitness beep test. Despite having nine years away from officiating, he kept quite fit leading up to his return by doing half marathons and 10 km and 5 km races for charity. 

Coming into his third year back as an active referee, he was determined to pass the level 8 on the beep test so he could go for an upgrade. Even though he trained on his own three times a week and added in other activities, he could only ever complete the level 7 on the test.

Roberts struggled to go farther and thought it was impossible for him to do another 11 shuttle runs.

"I was confident, despite being 58-years-old that in 2018 I would be able to hit my goal," said Roberts. "I then came across the LTOD fitness-training program created by Ontario Soccer and Kuizan Weekes. It called for referees to train at least four times a week but I felt like I could go six times a week and I started this program in February 2018."

Two weeks leading up to his test, Roberts practiced it and passed it on the track at the gym and completed it five times.

Although he didn’t pass the first time, he says he outpaced himself in the early stages. He did even better on his second try in Scarborough only two weeks later. It was there where he completed two shuttle runs into level 9 which was his goal going in.

"My fitness level in games is now noticeably better. I feel a lot faster and I have endurance late in the game that allows me to push myself to the end," said Roberts. "I keep up with play better than ever before, similar to how I did when I was younger."

To learn more about LTOD, visit or watch the LTOD Fitness series on Youtube. Subscribe to the channel to be notified when new LTOD videos are released.