Football Queensland (FQ) are pleased to announce Sunshine Coast Football’s Isaac Priest as the Referee of the Month for July.
18-year-old Priest was nominated by FQ State Referee Manager David Wiebe following a strong performance at the recent FQ Community Cup.
Priest was recently named Referee of the Tournament at the inaugural state-wide tournament in Mackay, where he took charge of the Under 16s Grand Final.
“Isaac was chosen not only because of the mentorship, guidance and leadership that he exhibited at the FQ Community Cup, but because he shows these qualities every time, week in and week out as a referee,” Wiebe said.
Priest said he was surprised to hear he’d been chosen as Referee of the Month for July.
“I was surprised and pretty honoured at the same time when I found out I’d been chosen,” he said.
Priest began refereeing five years ago when a friend took up the whistle and wanted someone to referee with.
He continued to pursue it for the fitness benefits and because of how much he enjoyed it.
From there, his refereeing career took off and this year in his fifth year as a referee, he was one of 40 young match officials at this year’s FQ Community Cup.
Priest said the FQ Community Cup gave him the opportunity to develop a wide variety of skills as a referee.
“Being a bit older, I was able to gain a lot of leadership and mentoring skills as well as refereeing points and feedback from coaches which was really beneficial,” he said.
Wiebe said the FQ Community Cup was a great opportunity for young referees from different zones to develop their skills as referees and was pleased to see Priest make the most of the opportunity.
“At the FQ Community Cup, young referees get a higher level of coaching than in local zones,” he said.
“They’re assessed on every game they referee and given feedback on how they can improve, which isn’t always possible in all zones because there aren’t enough assessors to get to every game each weekend, so it’s definitely a valuable opportunity for Isaac and other young referees.”
Priest said making new friends, constantly learning and being able to share his passion for the game are his favourite parts of refereeing.
He said the acknowledgements he’s received have come as a surprise, but he’s excited to see where his refereeing may take him.
“It started off as a hobby, but now I’m starting to see that a future could maybe come out of it with all the acknowledgements I’ve been receiving, so it’s very exciting.”
Words: Elizabeth Lepre