Hi everyone. I hope you have had a wildly successful campaign this year. As the 2018 season draws to a close, I wanted to take some time to reflect on some of our accomplishments.
Our good friend Jack Hughes retired from active duty at the Burlington Youth Soccer Club (BYSC). You may remember seeing Jack out every night at a BYSC game. You may remember being at one of his referee clinics as you got your first badge. You may remember being at one of his mentoring clinics. Or you may remember ask yourself "what were you thinking?" when you were a parent or coach and said something to one of his referees ;)
Maybe you remember getting assigned Golden Horseshoe Soccer League Games from him (or South Region games before that), or Ontario Cup games. Maybe you remember getting those pleading emails as other Match Officials (but not you, of course) sent him scrambling for last-minute replacements. Maybe it was you seeing him at many SRAH meetings over the years or benefited from his work as our Social Convenor. Maybe it was when you saw him win the Mike Wyers award at our AGM. Or maybe, just maybe, it was when you saw him win an award at Match Officials Appreciation Day at BMO Field last year.
Wherever you saw him, I can promise you you're a better match official for Jack having been part of your career. I personally want to thank Jack for his years of dedication to make soccer better by doing everything in his power to make Match Officials better - not just at BYSC but throughout Halton and even Ontario.
I wish you well in your alleged retirement and hope to see great things coming out of Welland.
I'd also like to take the time to congratulate another member of SRAH, Andy Murty, who was appointed Club Head Referee at BYSC. You have big cleats to fill Andy, but you are a tremendous asset to BYSC and have done a great job partnering with Jack for a number of years to coach and mentor youth Match Officials. I've partnered with you in Match Official Courses and have seen first-hand how great yo are with the kids and I also have honour to call you my friend. BYSC is in great hands and I congratulate them in their very sensible appointment.
In addition to Jack and Andy, another one of our members had great success this year. Melissa Snedden, who was appointed to the FIFA AR list late last year, was appointed to the Concacaf Women's U17 Championship final! In addition, she was selected to participate in the 2018 Concacaf Caribbean Women’s Qualifier Final.
These are great accomplishments for Melissa and I can tell you that they are well deserved. She's been a dedicated athlete and goes through incredible amounts of training. In addition, Melissa has helped lead many fitness sessions throughout Peel and Halton and was part of our very successful Match Official Fitness Program last year and I'm personally thrilled to see her succeeding.
Speaking of the Match Official Fitness Program, I'm delighted to announce that we will be running the program again. This program is run to help Soccer for Life Match Officials get in shape for the upcoming season. Going through drills and games, the session received increased attendance each week and we're looking to a bigger venue to accommodate even more Officials.
In addition to the Fitness Program, our Association held 9 education sessions last year. Attendance was not as high as we hoped so we may look at scaling down the number of sessions this year. If you liked the sessions and topics, let us know so we can plan for this year.
Those sessions will likely start in January and we'll provide more details in future articles.
The AGM will be held at Seasons Restaurant in Oakville on November 7, starting at 6:00 PM. We will be having two meetings - the first one to present and close on the 2017 financials and then have our 2018 AGM. As per the Constitution, we will be having elections for President, Secretary, Social Director and Director at Large 1. If you have an interest in serving, let us know.
In closing, I trust that you all had a terrific season and it is my sincerest hope that our Association contributed in some way to that season. I look forward to seeing you all at the AGM on November 7.
Yours in Soccer,
George Johnson, President, SRAH