What made you want to get into refereeing?
After playing a lot of football in my youth, I decided to hang up my playing boots after recurring injuries in my early twenties. Following this, I got into coaching and spent 4 years coaching my local youth team as well as my stn team. After a few years away from football, I wanted to get back involved in grassroots and decided to go through the refereeing route, having seen the advertisement for the course through the RAF FA.
What opportunities to referee have the RAF given you?
As well as my own personal development such as improving my fitness, communication, and leadership skills, I have been lucky to take part in some excellent games as an official. I have officiated at St. George’s Park, home of the England national team, on 3 occasions for various RAF fixtures and Oxford City’s ground for the RAF Plate Final as 4th Official. This season I was appointed to be the assistant referee to WSL referee, Lauren Impey, at Widnes Stadium for the televised UKAF Women vs Everton Academy fixture. The RAF referees committee are fantastic in overseeing your development as a referee, offering guidance and support along your journey and attend training seminars to learn and hear from some high-profile guest speakers. Our most recent seminar hosted Premier League referee, Andy Madley and hear his experience officiating at the top level.
What’s been the toughest challenge so far?
Just like players, referees can have peaks and troughs, one week you can have a fantastic game, the next could be a lot more challenging. Maintaining that consistency in performance and keeping yourself mentally sharp is vital as a referee.
What made you want to progress along the Women’s Pathway as a referee?
During pre-season 2022/23, I refereed Oxford Utd Women, who play in the third tier of women’s football in the National League and have been fortunate to be a regular official for them this season. The incredible strides and improvement in the women’s game has been highly evident with incredible physical and technical skill on display. As a referee, it is a pleasure to officiate fixtures of such excellent quality. I have also found that you tend to get a lot less grief which is always a bonus!!
How does the process differ to the Men’s Pathway for progression?
There are slightly different criteria between the two pathways which you must achieve in order to progress. As the women’s game is still expanding, there are not as many refereeing levels compared to the men’s game to climb, however, the competition and challenge to prove your competence as an official is just as strong.
What is the biggest difference you’ve found between refereeing both men’s and women’s football?
The women’s game tends to be a lot more about the football. The players are happy to just get on with it and focus on their jobs as players with a lot less dissent. As a referee, it allows you so much extra mental capacity to focus on your own job, improving your performance.
What has been your highlight as a referee this season?
I was fortunate enough to be selected from a pool of 130 RAF referees to be 4th official for a friendly between Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Championship side Birmingham City, working with Premier League referee Andy Madley and his regular assistants. This was during the World Cup, so the teams were able to keep fresh.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years as a referee?
If I can keep on this path of improvement, learning as best as I can and put in consistent performances, I hope to become a regular official in the Women’s Championship.
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