Match Official Appreciation Day

On October 28th Toronto FC in conjunction with Ontario Soccer held their 3rd annual Match Official Appreciation day to celebrate the work of referees across the province. This year, before TFC’s thrilling 4-1 victory over Atlanta United, TFC hosted referees in the BMO Club for drinks and some awards. Among the award winners for Spirit of the Game (awarded to a referee from each district in Ontario) was Nava Rajabi of SWRSA and our referee association! We heard from the new president of Ontario Soccer, Peter Augruso, on his goals for referees moving forward, and the CEO of OS, John Misley. Like previous years, the MLS match officials for that game showed up to say a few words and we heard from Jair Marrufo about the process of being awarded matches at the FIFA World Cup.

Match Official Appreciation Day is also a fundraiser started by the Toronto Referees Association. Their stated goal is to put a defibrillator at every field or soccer complex in Ontario. This came about after a player collapsed and died at a field despite the heroic efforts of the match official that day. I hope that more of us can attend this cool event moving forward in support of this great cause!

You might also recognize that match’s VAR, Jeff Gamble, National Referee from St. Catherines!


Education with Joe Fletcher! – Jan 22nd

joe fletcher

While it may have been a long time since Canada was represented at the World Cup by our men’s soccer team Canadian referees have been able to look forward to one of our own running up and down the touchline. Joe Fletcher, originally from Niagara Falls, has been a part of the third team at the past two World Cups, traveling this past summer to Russia and four years ago to Brazil.

Fletcher made his professional debut in 2003 for a game between the Toronto Lynx and Montreal Impact and four years later he would make the FIFA list.[1] Since then Fletcher has had many opportunities to officiate at the highest level. Not only has he worked at the past two World Cups but in the past four years alone he has worked two MLS finals (2014 and 2016), Copa America (2016), as well as many other international tournaments.

The South West Soccer Referee’s Association’s Director of Ed. Silviu Petrescu (MLS Referee/former FIFA) and the executive committee are incredibly excited to be able to welcome all referees from the South-West District to an open house September 24th where Joe Fletcher will be leading an education session, speaking about his experiences in Russia, and participating in a meet and greet.


Fitness and Refereeing

With the season winding down one of the last things most people are probably thinking of is fitness training. That being said with the lack of games now is a great time to take advantage of the open evenings and open fields to maintain the fitness you have achieved and get ready to go into the winter months. If you follow the link in this post you will find 100 exercises for soccer referees. These range from preparation for fitness tests (never to early to start) and exercises that mimic positioning on the field. So grab a buddy and get out there!

Refereeing in the English FA

We all see the top level referees when we watch on tv but what is it like to referee from the grassroots and up in England? BT Sport put out a fantastic mini-doc on refereeing in England and it does an excellent job showcasing the different levels referees find themselves at throughout their careers. From grassroots Sunday league to dealing with players making millions of dollars this video has valuable lessons for all referees. And just because it has Howard Webb it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth watching!


Mass Confrontation Education Session

We had the pleasure of welcoming Justin Tasev to our meeting to talk about Mass Confrontation Do’s and Don’ts. Justin is an OS Assessor and former National Referee who brought an engaging presentation that allowed us to learn about the reasons for mass confrontation and how to handle them. Thank you Justin for the informative talk and we look forward to the next time you share your wisdom and experience with the Assocation! We’ll have big news to share soon about who our next guest speakers are, we look forward to you joining us!20180716_211754.jpg

Introducing our Director of Education – Silviu Petrescu

If you have watched the MLS at all over the past 10 years you will more than likely have seen Silviu Petrescu adjudicating the laws of the game from the middle. Whether it is the 401 Derby between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact or a World Cup qualifying match, Petrescu has been refereeing at the highest level for decades.


With over 120 matches in the middle in the MLS the former FIFA referee has been refereeing in the MLS since 2006. During his MLS career Petrescu has received many awards including the 2012 MLS Referee of the year as well as being given the Cup Final that year.



Born in Romania, Petrescu started his soccer career as a player, playing for Metrom Brasov before making the transition to refereeing in 1987. After refereeing in Divizia B Petrescu immigrated to Canada in 1995 and continued with his refereeing career. In 2002 he became a listed FIFA official, a position he would hold until 2015.

A career that includes many international fixtures and tournaments, Petrescu was also a tournament official when Canada hosted the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007. Petrescu can still be seen refereeing in the MLS, he has refereed over 122 games since 2006, been the 4th official in over 60 matches, and many more as VAR.

This past February he became a certified instructor and has been educating the next generation of referees as well as contributing to the South West Soccer Referee’s Association in the role of Director of Education. We look forward to continuing to learn from such a distinguished referee.

Pre-Season Onfield Training

Waterloo Minor Soccer is donating field time for Match Officials Development at Bechtel Park on the following times:

March 17th 11am to 1pm.

March 20th 6pm to 8pm.

March 24th 12:30pm to 2:30pm

Each session will be instructed by Canada Soccer accredited Instructors and this will provide an outstanding opportunity for Match Officials to practice their officiating skills in a supportive and friendly environment. The sessions will consist of practical training drills focusing on fitness and decision making. If you are interested in attending any of the sessions please register at:

All Match Officials are encouraged and welcome to attend – this is an excellent opportunity to improve your skills, network with fellow officials/mentors/assignors and prepare for the upcoming season.

Match Official Manager at Waterloo United

Waterloo Minor Soccer is looking for a part-time Match Official Manager.

Under the direction of the Technical Director, the Match Official Manager will be responsible for the management of all matters directly relating to referees including but not limited to: education, development, assigning and administrative duties within the Club. 

See the link below for more details.

Match Official Manager – WMSC 2018


Can a referee score a goal?

You know you’ve always wanted to, but can a referee score a goal and have it count? SB Nation has a Youtube show called Weird Rules where they investigate weird instances in the wide world of sports and in this episode they investigate this very question. Moving past the obvious question of whether you would be coordinated enough to actually kick the ball in a meaningful manner (I mean we are referees for a reason) would it count? Watch and find out about the referee who did!