The Oakville Soccer Club is pleased to announce that the Club's Match Official Mentoring Program has partnered with Professor Matthias Spitzmuller at Queen’s University in Ontario and undergraduate business student Leah Vlassis at University of Victoria in British Columbia.

The Smith School of Business at Queen’s University has earned international recognition for its team-based and experiential education approach. It oversees Canada’s most prestigious undergraduate business program and is an Official National Business Education Partner of the Canadian Olympic Team. Spitzmuller is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behaviour and his research focuses on team motivation, team leadership, and helping/cooperative work behaviours. He is the Toller Family Fellow of Organizational Behaviour and was a recipient of the New Research Achievement Award in 2016 from the Smith School of Business. His work has been published in numerous academic journals such as the Academy of Management Journal and he has been a lecturer for several clients of Harvard Business School Publishing.

The Gustavson School of Business at University of Victoria has consistently ranked among the top institutions in Canada, with an emphasis on leadership initiatives and international networks. Vlassis is an undergraduate student, who is passionate about soccer with over 13 years of experience in the Lower Island Soccer Association. She is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society for outstanding achievements in academics, leadership, and service. In 2014, she was selected to represent BC at the Next Generation Leaders Forum in Ontario and recently competed on the Non-for-Profit Team at the JDC West Competition 2018 in Calgary.

Founded in September 2014, the goal of OSC's Mentoring Program is to promote continuous match official development and provide a forum for the exchange of soccer knowledge. The mission of the mentoring team is to support aspiring referees, provide constructive feedback, and inspire referees to embark on new challenges to help with their growth. This initiative is overseen by Matthew Aslett, Youth and Adult Mentor Program Facilitator, Isabella Springett, Mentoring Team Leader, and Richard Bowden, Referee Development Manager for the Oakville Soccer Club. This partnership will build on the one finalized with Bocconi University in Milan, Italy in December 2017.

Program Facilitator Matthew Aslett is thrilled to move forward: “Our goal for this project is to improve match official retention rates by examining identities and effective tactics associated with creating an environment that supports our members in their professional development”.

 Professor Spitzmuller added: “As a researcher and as a passionate soccer fan and player, I could not be more excited to embark on this project. Referees play such an important, yet often overlooked role in the game. Developing an improved understanding of the factors that contribute to referee retention will go a long way to further develop the Beautiful Game in Canada”. 

Vlassis also expressed her excitement, stating that “I look forward to contributing my experience and perspective from Western Canada to bring further insights and success to the team”.