The annual FA Women’s Grassroots Refereeing Development event was held at St. George’s Park, with the theme of the day to inspire the next generation of female referees.
The day was attended by over 100 girls, with the majority aged between 14 to 19, from across the country who currently referee in grassroots football .
Participants were joined by members of staff from The FA referees department and a number of top officials, including Natalie Aspinall (EFL & FIFA assistant referee), Helen Byrne (EFL & FIFA assistant referee), Sarah Garratt (FIFA referee), Melissa Burgin (FA WSL assistant referee) and Stuart Burt (Premier League assistant referee).
Tia shared with us:
"As a 16 year old Somerset FA referee, earlier this month, I attended the FA Women’s Grassroots Referee Development Day at St Georges Park, along with about 100 other female referees from across the country.
In the morning, we were out doing practical sessions such as positioning and assistant refereeing. This was not only a lot of fun and encouraged me to make new friends but I also learnt so many tips which have improved my refereeing skills and, as a result, improving my confidence. In the afternoon , we were given talks in small groups about areas of refereeing where I learnt more about international opportunities, support and balancing refereeing and life. These were delivered by international female referees, so we had the opportunity to chat to them and ask them questions. In these sessions, I learnt so much and it motivated me to continue refereeing and pursue it at a more advanced level.
Overall, the day was incredible, having the opportunity to visit St George’s Park, making new friends (who I am still in contact with) and learning from professional referees. In anticipation of this event happening next year, I would recommend it to all female referees, whatever your level."
Joanna Stimpson, FA Women’s Refereeing Manager and former Somerset FA Referees Development Officer said: “It’s really pleasing that we are seeing more girls take part in refereeing and the ultimate objective of today was to inspire this new generation. The girls leave with new practical and theoretical skills but hopefully with the belief and confidence that they can achieve their dreams and importantly a new network of friends and colleagues who will support them throughout their journey.”