Football Queensland are pleased to announce teenage Football Wide Bay referee Alex Buckholz as the inaugural winner of the Referee of the Month award for January.
Buckholz, 16, was nominated by Football Bundaberg referee coordinator Hannah Law.
Law said she nominated Alex because of his pure enthusiasm and drive to become a better match official in just his first year in the role.
“He’s a natural, he’s picked up the game like he’s a natural,” Law said.
“I can throw him anywhere and he does it (refereeing) so lovely, and I think he’s done quite well, for a young guy.
Law said she has thrown the teenager into senior games, a transition he made with assured maturity.
“His body language is great, it’s like he just really wants to be there,” she said. “I’ve got high hopes for him and I know he’ll go very far.”
Law said a standout performance for the young referee was an under-14 grand final appointment last year.
“It was a game changing decision,” Law said. “He handled everything with care. Players said it was handball, but it was ball to hand. The team scored a goal out of it and players abused him, but he handled it with care.”
“Every referee we spoke to said he’d done the right thing.”
A key reason for his nomination was the fact Buckholz is driven to learn.
“He’s the type of guy who always wants to learn, he will always put his hand up,” Law said. “He’ll always say I’ll help. He’s a polite and honest young man.
“He’s been at every training session, every event. He’s always there.
“We wish him all the best in his future. We think he can take it very far, into the higher ranks eventually.”
Buckholz said he was very honoured and privileged to receive this award after refereeing for only a short time.
“I was shocked that I received it (the award), especially since it was out of all of the referees in Queensland,” he said.
“I especially enjoy the job of the assistant referee, however refereeing can be a challenging but rewarding job. I also get to watch and enjoy a game (especially the higher level games) at the same time. I have found the transition of becoming a referee smooth with the assistance of other, more experienced referees.
“Refereeing has taught me more respect for the game as a player. Respect for the officials, coaches and fellow players.”
Buckholz said he now has his eyes set on finishing high school and wants to see how far he can go in the sport.
“To become a respected referee in my region and to obtain skills to assist with the transition phase into university life in a metropolitan region,” he said. “I would also like to continue to be invited to higher level state carnivals.”