Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Match Official Development

Refereeing Structure in Ontario

Below is the general structure of refereeing in Ontario, and an example of the pathways available to match officials in North Toronto’s referee development program. These are not necessarily defined pathways for officials, and we do not expect all new club referees to move on to become competitive level match officials. That being said, we will support those officials looking to do so. Referees are also more than welcome to stay and work at whichever level they find most enjoyable and fulfilling.

Development at North Toronto

New referees will typically begin at the 7v7 recreational (house league) level, regardless of their certification. This will allow referees to acquire and master the basic skills required to be successful at their job in a low-stakes environment. New referees with a strong willingness to learn are occasionally offered competitive exhibition games at the small-sided (U8-U10) level. 

Our Nitros Development Program is always excited to meet new referees! These games are always done under club mentorship to ensure the new official gets the most out of their experience.

Upon gaining experience at the 7v7 level, officials are then offered the opportunity to referee 9v9 games. These games introduce several new laws (i.e. offsides & throw-ins) pertinent to the full field game, while maintaining a smaller field size and lower stakes. New referees will often work on 9v9 games in their second season, or in the later parts of their first season if they show the required officiating skill to do so. 

The final progression in recreational soccer is 11v11 games. Played on a larger field, a full set of laws, and older players, 11v11 games (even at the recreational level) are no easy feat to referee. Readiness for 11v11 games is determined by having strong communication skills, technical ability, foul recognition, and movement at the 9v9 level. Referees will often referee 11v11 games in their second season and beyond if ready to do so. At North Toronto, officials new to 11v11 games will always be paired up with a senior club referee. This pairing allows not only for referee mentorship, but also serves as a strong deterrent against referee abuse and harassment, a main priority of the referee program at North Toronto.

Alongside the recreational refereeing progression is refereeing at the competitive level. Toronto based leagues competitive officials can expect to officiate include the YDSL, TDYSL, iModel, OPDL, and beyond. A certain level of recreational experience is required before progressing to the competitive level, but referees interested in pursuing this path should speak to program management. Those expressing interest in reaching this level of officiating will have a match official-specific plan prepared for them so that they may acquire and maintain the skills necessary to succeed at the competitive level.

Monday–Friday: 10 am - 6 pm

North Toronto Soccer Club
1041 Avenue Rd. Suite 5
Toronto, Ontario
M5N 2C5