Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Journey Begins

Hey Everyone!

This is the first post of many that will be detailing my journey to two prestigious international tournaments - the IberCup Costa Del Sol, and the IberCup Estoril.

These two tournaments will be occurring June 22-28, and June 30 - July 5, 2015 respectively.

A little bit of background on myself.

I am a recently-retired central defender for Mount Royal University in CIS, having played 3 years of CIS soccer after having graduated from the Calgary Foothills Soccer Club and Calgary Blizzard Soccer clubs in U18 Tier 1 youth soccer, through the Calgary Minor Soccer Association.

I began officiating in 2009 upon the (gentle) prodding of my mother - I initially resisted fiercely, thinking that refereeing was a terrible alternative. I also believed that all referees were out to get me, and I couldn't understand why it was so difficult to make all of the correct decisions 100% of the time in a game. I mean, I could do it as a player, why couldn't the referees? In hindsight, I sure am glad I stuck with it.

In 2010 I was invited to participate in the Alberta Major Soccer League referee pre-season development camp, and it was here that I was introduced to my first experiences as an Assistant Referee, having only done middle assignments (main Referee) at the U14 Community age groups and below.

In 2011 I applied to upgrade to "Regional" - level, and was unsuccessful in my first attempt upon the review of the Alberta Soccer Referee Development Committee in December of 2011. I was, however, invited to officiate at the Canadian Soccer Association National Club Championships for U16 in Lethbridge - October 2011. It was here that I got my first taste of elite level competition, and I was awarded both Gold Medal Championship games as the assistant referee for boys and girls.

I utilized these experiences to drive farther and higher as a referee, and in 2012 I was selected to officiate in my first ever Alberta Major League men's middle - Lethbridge FC vs. Drillers. I was also selected to officiate in the Provincial Championships for both Senior and Youth Tier 1 (to Nationals). I also achieved my Regional Upgrade in December of 2012.

2013 was a big year for me. I was in my first season as a Regional-level referee, and I was awarded the U14 Boys Provincial Gold Final after an exciting weekend at Tier 1 Youth Provincials, where the winner advanced to Nationals to represent Alberta. I was then selected to be the assistant referee on the Alberta Major League Men's Gold Medal Final the following weekend, and in October 2013 I was selected to my 2nd National Championships, the U14 Nationals, held once again in Lethbridge.

It was April 2014 when I received the news that I had been nominated on behalf of Alberta to attend the (National Centralized) Provincial Referee upgrade course, held in Ottawa, Ontario in May 2014. This course is the opportunity for potential future National List referees to be seen by members of the National Referee Development Committee in one big group, and it was an experience I will never forget. I learned valuable tools and information in the 2 days I spent in Ottawa, and I used that new-found knowledge to achieve a successful Youth and Senior Provincial Championship in August 2014. I was awarded the Jubilee Shield Final (Women's Major League) (as the middle referee), and the Boys U16 Gold Medal Final as the middle referee - two of the largest appointments for a referee in the entire province. I was then invited to my 3rd National Championship - the 2014 Women's College National Championship held in Medicine Hat, Alberta in November 2014.

In December 2014 I was awarded my Provincial Upgrade, after successfully completing ongoing assessments and resume review by the Referee Development Committee through the 2014 summer and fall months of the season.

In my next blog post, I will detail the two IberCup's I am planning to attend, and I will discuss further my goals and aspirations as a soccer referee moving forward.

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