The Edmonton Minor Soccer Association (EMSA), in partnership with St. Nicholas Catholic Junior High School Soccer Academy, delivered a successful Junior Ref Program that brought together a total of 20 kids (18 boys, 2 girls) with the objective of providing the students an in-depth learning of the rules of the game, and to look soccer from a different perspective.
In words of Marco Bossio, Soccer Academy Director with St. Nicholas Catholic Junior High, “we want our athletes to learn how to play, coach, and especially the bigger kids, to have that leadership that is crucial not only in sport but also in life. This program taught them to pay attention to small details, and particularly to appreciate referees’ work, which sometimes goes unnoticed.”
According to Marco, finding students was not very difficult. “We got word that EMSA was looking for a partner for this program, and that’s when we stepped in. These kinds of courses are excellent for everyone in soccer, as it allows us to keep our athletes involved in the game. A big thank you goes to EMSA, which were fantastic to us, and more specifically to Murray Milavsky (EMSA Referee Committee) and Goran Filipovic (St. Albert), who were key in delivering the content to our students.”
The success of this program will surely encourage St. Nicholas to do another one next year. “We are looking at doing this every year. For 2024, we would like to expand our student body to 50 athletes. This year, only students from grades 8 and 9 were able to receive their certification as Youth Referees, but for next year, we are thinking about accepting students from 12 years old, so they can become Mini Referees”, concluded Marco Bossio.
We congratulate both EMSA and St. Nicholas Catholic Junior High for this great initiative that is producing many soccer referees for the future.