When Canada takes to the field on Saturday at World League Round 2 in San Diego, California, it’s not only the athletes who will be realizing dreams.
While Canada’s Men’s National Field Hockey Team continues its path to 2016 Olympic Games qualification – more aptly known at the Road to Rio – Canadian Ozias D’Souza, who will serve as a judge at the tournament, is continuing his own journey.
For D’Souza, it’s somewhat of a second act.
The 48 year-old moved to Canada from India – where he was born, raised, and played field hockey growing up – when he was a teenager.
While playing club and provincial hockey after he moved to Canada, he took up umpiring and got quite good.
D’Souza went on his first international tour in 2001 when he traveled to Scotland and Wales with the Canadian Men’s National Team.
It was one of the highlights of his time umpiring. Little did he know at the time, his career as an official would have a second wind as strong, if not stronger than his first.
After he stopped umpiring about eight years ago, D’Souza kept on as a judge and technical director in Ontario University Athletics.
“When I first started, it was just an extension of staying in the game,” he says. “It never occurred to me I would get this far.”
Being a part of World League 2 is accomplishment. It’s a tournament with big implications for big nations in the sport and a tournament which – if all goes well – has set him on the path towards officiating at the Pan American Games this summer in Toronto.
“Since I’ve been doing it for a while I’ve realized I am good at what I do,” he adds. “I still have something I can offer to the game.”
“Pan Am is the next level for me now, but definitely if the opportunity arises to get to a higher level, just like an athlete, you want to get higher and better.”
Proficiency in his role has been essential for D’Souza to continue on in the game, but above all else – like any athlete – he says his passion for the sport is what has allowed him to carry on.
“Hockey has been good to me and I have fun what I do. It’s all about enjoying the game that I love.”