LTOD In It For The Long Term - Featuring: SOSA
MARGUERITE HEER, SOSA DISTRICT REFEREE COORDINATOR ANSWERED A FEW KEY QUESTIONS ABOUT SOSA AND THEIR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.
As a component of Long Term Match Official Development (LTOD) delivery across the province, Districts receive a District Development Fee.
This total fee amount ranges from District to District, depending on number of registered Match Officials. As part of LTOD compliance, District Associations had to provide Ontario Soccer with a District Development Plan, and a mid-way report on how they had utilized this fee.
The fee could not be used to replace existing District Match Officials Development budget, nor to buy clothing, or food.
It had to be used to create LTOD specific programming to enhance the current programming.
The Southeast Ontario Soccer Association, led by District Referee Coordinator Marguerite Heer and her Development Committee, have already started on their LTOD Development program, and are marching ahead with their plans by encouraging youth referees to attend their education sessions and by hosting on field sessions in 2018 with youth referees using our youth teams.
Marguerite Heer, SOSA District Referee Coordinator answered a few key questions about SOSA and their Development ,program.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHERE YOU WOULD HAVE THE MOST IMPACT WITH THE DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT FEE?
In October 2017 the Match Official District Coordinator and myself got together and brainstormed ideas on how to encourage youth referees to attend education sessions and also what to offer them.
We did not want them sitting at a desk watching videos only and decided to rent fields and do more hands on sessions.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE OVERALL LTOD PROGRAM WILL BENEFIT YOUR DISTRICT?
It will benefit us by building up our youth referee pool, retaining our youth referees, building up their confidence level and also encouraging our more experienced referees to become mentors.
WHAT COMPONENT OF DEVELOPMENT DO YOU THINK IS THE LEAST DELIVERED/MOST WANTED IN YOUR DISTRICT?
Support to all new referees starting out on this new endeavour.
Giving them the tools to help them deal with coaches and parents.
Once a new referee is done their two day entry level course there is no follow up or very little follow up and support for when they step onto the field for their first game.
HOW HAS THE FEEDBACK AND SUPPORT RECEIVED FROM ONTARIO SOCCER ASSISTED YOU IN LTOD DEVELOPMENT?
When Ontario Soccer did their tours to districts and meeting with club officials and referees it was a major stepping stone, in my opinion, in making clubs aware that they need to invest in the training of match officials and retaining them.
What I personally like is the follow up by Ontario Soccer to ask where we at in our development and how can they help, if we need it.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Our goal is not just to encourage youth to participate in these sessions, but to build them up to be mentors to our small sided referees and to each other.
Let them become confident and have the opportunity to choose which path they would like to go in refereeing and be the best at it.
Set up education monthly education sessions from October – April 6. We will hold approximately 12 educations sessions between Belleville, and Kingston. Also included will be fitness training sessions to prepare officials to take the District Fitness test.
The challenge is getting youth referees to attend sessions and so we have come up with some incentives to encourage attendance.
It could be based on attendance of 3 out of 5 sessions or all, name in a hat and have a draw at the end, a door prize at each session.
Some of the prizes we came up with was a referee shirt (most attended sessions), a SOSA coin, whistles and other referee gear.
We are letting the officials determine the education topics – they know where their development areas are – could be Report Writing, Handling Abuse and Dissent, Understanding the Assigning Protocol etc..
Also the more seasoned/experienced officials will be helping the Development Committee run the on-field sessions.
We are also going to meet with our Clubs. LTOD has shown us that we need to bridge the gap between Clubs and Districts. We need to listen and react to Club ideas and concerns.