In an effort to decrease harassment and increase the retention of youth soccer referees, the Calgary Minor Soccer Association is launching the Teal Shirt Campaign.
According to a statement released by CMSA, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many referees to leave the sport to find work in different fields. This has caused a referee shortage.
The goal of the Teal Shirt Campaign is to ensure recruitment and initial training of all referees is done with the utmost care to aid in referee retention.
“Referees are an important pillar to the soccer community and the experience of our participants,” said the CMSA executive director, Carlo Bruneau.
When the soccer outdoor season started, CMSA supplied all newly graduated referees with a Teal Shirt to wear on match day. It’s a reminder to all participants that these match officials are new to officiating and are still learning.
CMSA said it’s important that referees want to continue with officiating and have the resources that they need to progress effectively.
“Coming into this outdoor season, we placed an emphasis on referee recruitment and were quite successful having trained nearly 100 new referees,” said Bruneau.
“However, with that inexperience on the pitch, we knew we had to let people know that our referees were new and still learning their craft, hence the Teal Shirt Campaign.”
Experienced referees paired with new ones
All newly-graduated referees will also be paired with a mentor referee to help aid in match officiating and conflict resolution. CMSA hopes this contributes to a better Calgary soccer culture through better behaviour from parents, spectators, coaches, managers, and players.
“Soccer is making a comeback from the last two years with player registration numbers soaring, however, unfortunately, referees are not returning at the same pace,” Bruneau said.
“We are confident implementing the Teal Shirt Campaign and mentorship program will help us attract and keep referees to offer the best on-field experience for our participants.”
More information about the Teal Shirt Campaign, information on how to become a referee, details on upcoming initiatives and more information on soccer in Calgary can be found on the CMSA website.