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Lucie Ratajova: “I love refereeing, I love football”

World Cup assistant referee Lucie Ratajova
World Cup assistant referee Lucie Ratajova (Czech Republic)

Lucie Ratajova is again appointed to the Women’s World Cup. After her tournament in 2015, she is now also appointed for the 2019 tournament in France. Before her first tournament I got a chance to speak with the female referee from the Czech Republic can’t describe her feelings. “And I did not expect the appointment.”

In 2019 she is appointed for England vs Scotland and as AVAR in the game between Australia vs Brazil with referee Esther Staubli.

In her 2015 interview you’ll also read why/how she started and there are lots of tips and insights for you. Enjoy!

Congratulations with your appointment for the 2015 World Cup. How does that feel?

Lucie Ratajova: “Thank you for your congratulations. I am very very happy. It is very difficult to describe my feelings. I can not find right words, that is something amazing. You should feel it. Unbeliavable. I think that somebody has a dream to be in World Cup and now the dream comes true.”

I did not expect it. I had a opportunity to be selected as many other assistants from the World and Europe. There are a lot of good assistants. We had a course for assistants in Doha in November and also I was appointed to Algarve Cup in March. So I felt there is little chance to go to Canada. But this chance was there for everybody.

I heard about it via email. The email meant that I was selected and appointed to the course in Zurich and World Cup in Canada.

What do you expect from refereeing at the World Cup in Canada?

It will be great event for women´s football and for me as well. There will be the best level of football so the refereeing will be also on high level and it will be more difficult than usual. More pressure, higher expectations, more spectators, more skills so it will be something unique.

What did you do to get appointed?

I always try to do my best. I try to be better and better in every single match. Because every match makes you stronger. I have to be ready in every moment. I train every day. Sometimes it is not so easy because I go to work every day. It is not easy to combine it with a job but I try to arrange it. I have big support from my family and it’s also important to have a good boss at work.

When I train I either go train outside or inside (gym), it depends on the weather. I work hard in agility and speed. There is always something to improve. I think that everyone has something to improve.

Lucie Ratajova in football stadium.

How did you get involved in refereeing?

I started to be a referee in 2005. In that moment I stopped as active football player in the top women´s  league in Czech Republic. Two of my colleagues at work were referees so they asked me if I wanted to be one of them, because they knew I liked football. I have put more focus on being an assistant referee since 2007. We had very good international referees in Czech Republic that time and we didn´t have so many good AR’s. So maybe that was the reason to become an assistant referee and I worked hard for it. I have never regret of my decision. I am also referee in some competitions in the Czech Republic but I feel more comfortable and more sure as AR.

You’ve worked along with experienced Czech female referee Dagmar Damkova. How was that for you?

I had a opportunity to be her assistant referee. It was “the best school and biggest experience”  in my refereeing life. She teached me and helped me a lot. She is unique person. She always gave me the best advice and I try to follow her way. She is “the best teacher”. I am very happy that I had this chance to be with her.

No Czech referee at the Women’s World Cup this time. Have you ever worked with any of the referees and how do you think cooperation would be with refs who come from other countries?

Yes, there is no Czech referee yet. It’s a pity that Czech referee – Jana Adamkova is not coming. I am used to work with other referees. No problem for me. I have already worked with many of them from the list for Canada. I am ready for cooperation with all of them. I know especially European referees but I also worked with referee from another confederations. I am curious who will be my referee. It is not decided yet. The cooperation with referees from other countries will be perfect, I am sure.

Ratajova during international game.

What do you like about refereeing so much and have you ever thought of quitting this hobby?

I love refereeing, I love football, so I have never thought of quitting this hobby so far. First of all I have to be healthy.

What’s the hardest challenge/problem you faced during your career? And how did you solve it?

I think that I have not had big problem in my career. Maybe something for every referee is that it is not easy to hear some bad words from spectators, but I know that it belongs to football.

What are the best 3 tips you ever got that made you a better referee

  • to work hard,
  • to be ready,
  • to be modest and be yourself.

Have a good time in Canada and enjoy the games you referee there.

Check out the names of all the officials for the Women’s World Cup.

Or read the interview with Greek World Cup referee Thalia Mitsi.

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