One day I was invited to referee my first Canada Games game. John Mitchen was running the refs during the CANADA GAMES tournament and witnessed the game I was refereeing. He then asked me to ref the final game. I wasn’t ranked nationally but I was asked and said yes! This started my journey to becoming a professional. In 1996 I started as a FIFA Referee and in 2005 retired from the FIFA list
I was 1 in 5 Canadian FIFA refs at the time. It was a small selected group and we were the only ones allowed to ref international games. I think its important to say that when I came to Canada I couldn’t speak english or french. I was only able to communicate through sport. Soccer made huge difference in my life. The area I grew up in Montreal was rough at times. Most immigrants didn’t come to Canada with money so you can easily get pulled into crime and bad activities. Soccer kept me out of trouble by keeping me busy and it also helped me learn French, English and meet players who were passionate about soccer.
Our coach at the time took me under his wing and told me in order to be a good soccer player you have to be a good person first. I was taught that the only way I could develop as a player was to first develop my mind. I couldn’t be a bad son, a bad student and be a good soccer player. I had be well rounded in order to develop the mental toughness I needed. The only way you can take your game to the next level is to learn emotional control.
This changed my life and thats why its our goal is to create respectful human beings. Its important that young people have challenges, and we can show them through sport how to develop their personality to deal with those challenges. What makes me feel great is seeing athletes grow into their personality. Today Edwardo & Tyler and the rest of the FSA staff play a huge roll in developing the minds of young athletes.
It is our job to create expectations, you have to act, train and have the attitude and balance. Do you want be a great soccer player? Good! Then you can’t be a crappy brother or sister or friend or son or daughter, you have to be well rounded.
You have to have the professional attitude that goes along with your soccer. We’re not here just for super stars, we’re here for everyone.