The first year after becoming a referee is one of the most important for development. At the Edinburgh and District we want to ensure that our officials are supported and enjoy being part of the Association. We asked Sean Duff to let us know how he got on in his first year….
Just over a year ago I signed up to the new entrants class & decided to give refereeing a go. At the class I wasn’t long in realising that even though I had played football for about 15 years I actually didn’t know the game as well as I thought. After 6 enjoyable weeks of learning the laws of the game I completed the course.
Before I had refereed my first game I started going along to the training sessions on a Wednesday night and was really anxious about what to expect. It turned out I had nothing to be worried about, as although you’re worked hard and pushed every week, the group of referees there are a great support and tell brilliant stories about their games! Now going to training is one of the things I look forward to most about my week as its great catching up with everyone at the same time as pushing each other to get fitter.
My first game was Hearts against Hamilton under 12s at the Oriam and now looking back it’s funny to think how much progress I’ve made since then. I was more stressed before my first game as a referee than I ever was a player, worrying about all the things that I could do wrong. How do I get the team lines? How should I introduce myself as the referee? What if I log the match details wrong? As soon as the game started however, that all went and I couldn’t help but love the buzz of being involved as an official. I knew that my development adviser on the touchline was there to support me and keep me right, and getting told what I was doing well at half time and being given pointers for the second half, reassured me that I was doing well and gave me the confidence to go out and enjoy the experience. I remember feeling relieved when I blew the final whistled having worried so much before the game started, however I’d caught the buzz and now couldn’t wait to do it all over again.
Throughout my first year I can now say I’ve been involved in over 50 games both as a referee and assistant referee. My two biggest highlights so far have been being appointed as an assistant referee in the East of Scotland league where I learn a lot from experienced referees, and being promoted to Category 4 Development which enables me to referee in the under 20s Lowland/East of Scotland league. Now in the upcoming season I’m looking forward to gaining more experience through officiating at a higher level and continuing to enjoy refereeing!