Queensland referees Casey Reibelt and Kate Jacewicz may be bound for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup as match officials, but both had their first introduction to football as players.
Reibelt and Jacewicz, in addition to video match official and fellow Queenslander Chris Beath, are among the 75-strong cohort of match officials appointed to the tournament in France next month.
Reibelt completed her first referees course at 15, having previously played the game from a young age and occasionally helping on the sidelines of her brother’s matches.
It was when Reibelt was selected as both a player and a referee at a junior carnival that she had to make the decision of which pathway to pursue.
“I went with my gut feeling,” Reibelt said.
“From then on, refereeing took front position.”
Reibelt said the opportunity to attend the World Cup as a referee was one she would relish.
“It’s anyone’s dream to go to the World Cup if you’re involved in the game, whether it be as a player, coach or referee,” Reibelt told www.matildas.com.au.
“To get the opportunity is pretty amazing. I don’t know that it’s quite hit, I’ve just been so focused on final preparations – keeping healthy, keeping my fitness going, making sure of the little one percenters… that’s where my focus has been.”
Between them, Reibelt and Jacewicz have won 10 of the last 11 Westfield W-League Referee of the Year Awards, with Reibelt claiming two and Jacewicz recently earning her record eighth Westfield W-League Referee of the Year Award at this year’s event.
Jacewicz, like Reibelt, also began her footballing career as a player before turning her attention to officiating, and said that she was looking forward to sharing the world stage with her fellow Queensland match officials.
“It’s almost like a lifetime’s work and plying your trade to get the experience you need to now move onto the world stage,” Jacewicz said.
“It’s amazing that Australia has two referees that are going to whistle…plus Chris Beath as Video Assistant Referee.
Three of us going is a very special achievement for Australian football.”
HOW TO WATCH: The FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ in Australia