Two young female Queensland referees had the opportunity to represent the state at the National Training Centre Challenge in Canberra last week.
Lauren James and Ellie Jones, both participants in the National Talent Program run by FFA, received elite coaching from some of Australia’s top instructors and Westfield W-League referees at the NTC Challenge.
The selection gave the girls the opportunity to gain valuable coaching advice that will help them progress in their refereeing careers.
For Lauren, who is in her third season of refereeing, the experience has helped her get one step closer to her goal of refereeing in the Westfield W-League.
“I was really lucky to be able to have this opportunity to represent my state and better develop my own skills,” she said.
“We’ve been provided with a lot of feedback on improving our positioning on the field and taking our skills to a more mature and advanced level.
“The coaching we’ve been receiving from two of the country’s W-League referees has definitely been very beneficial.”
Ellie, who is currently in her fifth season of refereeing agrees, saying the tournament has provided her with an insight into what’s required to referee in the W-League.
“It’s pretty cool to know that our hard work has paid off and to see the other girls in Queensland competing at the same level, it’s pretty humbling to actually get here,” she said.
“The biggest thing I’ve learnt whilst being here is about how to improve my positioning on the field, and getting different referees’ viewpoints on where we should be and where we shouldn’t be in relation to players and the ball.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting all types of feedback from different coaches and being able to reflect on it straight away and put that into the next game.”
Football Queensland State Referee Manager David Wiebe says it’s important to develop the skills of female referees in the state, with this opportunity giving Lauren and Ellie an important advantage in progressing along the referee pathway.
“Their attendance at the tournament puts them in front of the people who make the decisions about which referees make it into the W-League,” he said.
“If they perform well then they will have a better shot at making it onto the national stage.
“We need to continue to develop our female referees by continually raising the bar in the level of coaching they receive and raising the bar on their fitness levels.
“It was great to see the girls taking up this opportunity to represent the state, and we look forward to seeing more young Queensland referees offered opportunities like this one in the future.”