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Local soccer clubs welcome 43 new referees as season nears

The passing standard required in the exam is 80 per cent and all those attending achieved it
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As the snow continues to recede from the streets and playing fields around the countryside, minds will turn to our favourite summer sports and other activities.

For those of us that love watching the beautiful game, soccer, you will be glad to know that the local minor soccer organizations are already hard at work, organizing.

They are registering players and teams and compiling rosters and schedules: all those preparations are well underway.

And the executives of the Orillia District Soccer Club and Ramara Soccer Club understand the importance of game officials and that is why they have again jointly sponsored soccer referee courses. This year they were held at the wonderful facilities of Patrick Fogarty Catholic High School.

The courses were put on March 23 and 24 and they have graduated 43 new game officials for both the small sides and the traditional 11v11 game as set out by FIFA and Ontario Soccer.

There is a distinct difference in the rules or laws applied to the various age categories of soccer played locally. The Small Sided Game focuses on the younger ages, assuming smaller fields, fewer players and a different set of rules. The referees trained for these games must focus on instruction rather that pure competition.

Some of the matches in the younger divisions don’t even maintain standings or worry greatly about keeping a score. Instead they emphasize fair play and safety of players while gaining skills to use in the higher age ranges. The referees chosen for these games are specially trained to support those goals.

The Small Sided Soccer Referee course was fully subscribed again this year with interest being expressed by not only by the youngest age possible for this course (12 and 13) but also by some trainees in their 40s! It takes all kinds to maintain a healthy system. The variety of persons showing the interest in learning the rules and their applications to the Small Sided game is healthy for everyone. Well done.

The excitement grows as new referees learn the skills needed to officiate the 11v11 game. Those laws taught this weekend in the oddly named “Entry Level” course.

The local 11v11 games obey the same laws that govern the professional and international matches like those on TV. These are called the Laws of the Game or LOTG, and are laid down by FIFA, (Fédération Internationale de Football Association).

They include high level, technical terms (like field and equipment dimensions). But, more importantly, they include the basics of full field play including offside and assistant signals.

These are among the many components of the game that are gradually introduced to players learning the modern game. Senior organizations like FIFA and Ontario Soccer are quite proud of the fact that most aspects of the high level games are exactly the same from the local minor level.

The new “entry level” referees from this weekend’s course are taught and tested on the full range of these regulations that apply throughout the many levels and leagues in soccer today.

And tested they are: both courses involve in-class sessions for the new referees, as well practical sessions (conducted in PF’s very adequate gym facilities).

The course is organized through a computer program supplied by Ontario Soccer which is used to used to distribute course information and resources and to administer the course exam which was done in the first 48 hours after the course was completed.

We are proud to announce that all students who attended the course were able to successfully pass the exam required. The passing standard required in the exam is 80 per cent and we are proud to say that all of those attending were able to achieve that standard.

The Orillia District Soccer Club and Ramara Soccer Club combined to offer the course and the local organizers (Mark Doubrough, James Newlands, and Laura Smit) are to be congratulated for their fine work bring the course together.

Referee mentors from the clubs attended and helped their new colleagues achieve the status of registered referees with Ontario Soccer from attending the two courses this weekend.

Fine work everyone. See you on the pitches.