Referee Claudia Umpierrez from Uruguay will officiate the opening match at the Women’s World Cup 2019. She can’t wait to get involved in a this big tournament in France. “The 90 minutes of every match is what it all comes down to. You have all this preparation but that is the important part.”
But how does she stay focused? What brought her from a small village called Pan de Azucar to a stadium packed with people? Referee Claudia Umpierrez shares some tips with you for your career.
Total focus for 90 minutes
“The best part of being a referee are the 90 minutes on the field of play”, Umpierrez says to FIFA. “When you’re on the pitch, you can totally switch off from everything. You forget about the problems you have in your daily life.”
She focuses on the calls she has to make. Just that. “You enter the pitch and all that matters is the game, those 90 minutes. No match the same as any other.” All she does is focus on that single match at that time. But how do you stay focused? Check out these 7 tips.
Get your team in the same vibe
Claudia Umpierrez knows the role as a referee is important for her as a person. “However, the players are always the main characters of the game.” But that still means you need to love this hobby. “I always enjoy officiating a game and pass this feeling on to my refereeing team”, Umpierrez adds. “The match shouldn’t just be a duty for us, but also a joyful experience.”
The biggest lesson for me here is: get your team in the same vibe. They need have the same feeling as you, because that will make you stronger as a team. You need to speak and work at the same level, that makes your performance better. So make sure you get an idea how your assistants or referee are in the dressing room and get the at the same vibe.
Don’t forget where you started
After a long period without games, as she has given birth to her child, Umpierrez is finally back at the top stage for the Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada. “As the captains chose which end to play from, my career seemed to play out before my eyes like a movie,” she tells FIFA. “I thought about how it had all started on a little pitch in my home town of Pan de Azucar, and then looked at where I was now – in a stadium in front of over 30,000 spectators.”
Don’t forget where you started as a referee. Feel proud of what you achieved so far.
Dedicate time to training
Work, school, family time. It all takes so much time, because they are important. But don’t for get time for training sessions. If you want to reach the top as a referee, you need to be very fit. That’s why Umpierrez got out of bed very early. When her child was still young, she got up and even did a training session after breast-feeding. Then off to work later on.
“The path to becoming a referee was and still is tough”, is the experience of Umpierrez. And now her child is a bit older, she still has to manage time to find time for a training session. “I train in the morning, after that I work a seven or eight-hour-day as a lawyer and then also look after my daughter.”
“If you asked me if I’d rather be a full-time referee, my answer would obviously be yes. But unfortunately that’s not possible, because I couldn’t put food on the table for my family in the country where I live if that were my sole profession.
Be prepared to step up as female in a men’s world
But how does a female referee step up in a men’s world? “It is important for female referees to demonstrate that they are ready when the opportunity comes”, she says. The last few years Umpierrez has also taken up the whistle in men’s top divisions, like Bibiana Steinhaus did in Germany and Stéphanie Frappart recently in France.
For her it has improved her fitness a lot and she has even taken a coach who helps her with strenght and contioning. “I would love to see more women refereeing men’s football,” she says. She thinks back about the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 for men, that she took part in with fellow referees.
Demonstrate what you can
Esther Staubli, also present at the WWC in France was the first female referee there to officiate in a men’s competition. “That was a milestone and great experience. It demonstrated what we women are capable of and that we can be counted on.”
“Working in men’s football has allowed me to focus on my rhythm and my stamina and I’m reaping the benefits now, since women’s football has now come on immensely in recent years and got a whole lot quicker.”