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!