An ongoing injury might keep Kate Sherry from taking charge of matches, but the promising young referee is determined not to let it halt her future as an official.
The 20-year-old suffered torn hip tendons while playing as a teenager and, with surgery unable to promise a complete recovery, has as yet been left without a long-term fix.
Forget running out a full fixture – even 45 minutes is enough to prevent her from walking the next day.
Though returning to the middle remains a possibility given the right treatment, the Level 3 Referee is already taking steps on an alternative pathway in the game.
“In the future I probably won’t be in the referee role anymore, I’ll go more towards helping referees, training them, coordinating them and helping out that way,” Sherry says.
“I definitely want to keep involved. Obviously I can’t do it physically so I’ve got to do it some other way.”
Sherry’s enthusiasm to remain in refereeing is unsurprising given each of her three brothers – including James, a Foxtel National Youth League and Westfield FFA Cup assistant – are all also active in football as officials. “It’s a family thing,” she says.
Soon to hold Level 3 qualifications as both an Instructor and Assessor, the second-youngest Sherry sibling can see an educational role as an alternative way to pursue her passion.
“I definitely would love a future in it. It would be great helping out the kids,” she says.
“I can learn new things by going to courses with the more experienced assessors and instructors and pass that on to the junior ones.
“In Mackay we more so have junior referees so helping them get to the level I was at before my injury and even going further.”
Football Queensland’s State Referees Development Officer David Wiebe will travel to Mackay in April and conduct a Level 3 Instructor course especially for Sherry, which will allow her to provide training to new referees in the region.
“Kate’s attitude toward refereeing can only be described as positive,” Wiebe says.
“Being injured isn’t easy for a referee because all they want to do is be involved in the game out on the park. It makes it very difficult when you can’t do that.
“Kate has been identified as a talented official and like any female referee has the potential to go to the W-League and beyond.”
Fortunately, Sherry isn’t short on inspiration as a Queensland official. Two of the Hyundai A-League’s three full-time professionals hail from the Sunshine State, while a further seven on this season’s Westfield W-League panel likewise started out locally.
Supporting their progress has been an established and improving pathway, to which Sherry is keen to contribute.
“It shows we obviously have a good development program and good assessors and instructors helping us get through,” Sherry says.
“If I can do my bit to help the junior ones get through, or even aspire to that level, it definitely would be really good.”