The annual FA Women’s Grassroots Refereeing Development event was held at St. George’s Park, with the theme of the day to inspire the next generation of female referees.
The day was attended by over 100 girls, with the majority aged between 14 to 19, from across the country who currently referee in grassroots football .
Participants were joined by members of staff from The FA referees department and a number of top officials, including Natalie Aspinall (EFL & FIFA assistant referee), Helen Byrne (EFL & FIFA assistant referee), Sarah Garratt (FIFA referee), Melissa Burgin (FA WSL assistant referee) and Stuart Burt (Premier League assistant referee)
The day was split into two sections.
The morning was practical, with sessions covering assistant refereeing, position and fitness.
The afternoon was theory-based with a quiz on the laws of the game and then access was provided to sessions including:
o The balance between life and refereeing
o Getting experience in the women’s game
o Improving confidence
o International opportunities
o What it is like to referee at Wembley
Joanna Stimpson, FA Women’s Refereeing Manager said: “It’s really pleasing that we are seeing more girls take part in refereeing and the ultimate objective of today was to inspire this new generation. The girls leave with new practical and theoretical skills but hopefully with the belief and confidence that they can achieve their dreams and importantly a new network of friends and colleagues who will support them throughout their journey.”
Teigan from Staffordshire said: “Currently I’m refereeing U12 boys on a Sunday in my local area. I definitely want to pursue refereeing as a career. I think it’s the perfect opportunity now as women’s refereeing is growing and there’s more women in the game. It’s been great today to meet more girls who referee and getting support and advice from the likes of Natalie (Aspinall), Melissa (Burgin) and Sarah (Garratt) has been really inspirational.”
Well done to all involved!