Seth Galia: referee with a smile on his face

I got the chance to meet online with Seth Galia, a young referee from Gibraltar. I asked him to answer a few questions for my blog on how it is to officiate in a small country like Gibraltar and how he stays focused during the games.

Here is his story: “My name is Seth Galia. I am a 16 year old referee from Gibraltar. I first started refereeing at the age of 14, and begun refereeing the youth leagues in November 2013. I am currently involved as an assistant referee in the Gibraltar second division, and I hope to start as assistant referee in the premier division in future.”

Assistant referee Seth Galia from Gibraltar.
Assistant referee Seth Galia from Gibraltar.

Refereeing because he loves football

I did the basic refereeing course in October 2013. The Physical Education department in my school were advertising it to the PE students, and I thought it would be a good decision to become a ref as I knew I was not going to make it as a footballer and I love the game too much to leave it. I love refereeing because I love football. Being involved in the game is something I’ve always wanted to do, and every time I walk onto the pitch I will have a smile on my face!”

“Refereeing in Gibraltar is brilliant! Gibraltar is a very small place so you know how each club plays football and you can expect which players will play and how they will play, so you can mentally prepare yourself for certain situations that could arise in the game. The pressure on referees in Gibraltar is the same as anywhere else in the world: huge! In my opinion the most important thing is not to stress over a certain appointment or fixture, because that can lead to you not performing as well as you normally would. The biggest pressure I have had was in my first premier division game. I was extremely nervous for it, but fortunately I had a very experienced refereeing team with me, and they gave me the support for the game and I am very grateful to them!”

Referee training

Staying focused during the game is something I believe every referee should train for, because football is a very exciting game with many surprises, and you never know what can happen during the game. For me the most important thing is to avoid overthinking in the game. Negative feelings will have an impact on your performance, so once the decision has been made, no matter how many times you think about it you will never be able to change it, and it could make you lose your concentration for the remainder of the match.”

“We have physical training twice a week. Our sessions include mainly Speed, Agility and Quickness (SAQ) and CORE (Centre of Refereeing Excellence by Uefa, Jan) excersizes which are relevant to game situations for both assistant referees and referees. These are run by our fitness instructor James Alvarez.”

Seth Galia, referee from Gibraltar.“My goals as a referee are to one day become a FIFA Referee and to officiate in international competitions.Refereeing in Gibraltar is improving rapidly every year, and will continue to do so. Hopefully if Gibraltar gain the FIFA status a Gibraltarian referee will get the FIFA badge and will improve the standard further.”

Want to read more on the future of Gibraltar refereeing? I interviewed the Chief of Refereeing Adrian Bacarisa.

Seth: “I do believe in Gibraltar I will get the experience needed, as the football quality of the local clubs is increasing every year, attracting interest from players from Spain, Argentina, Brazil and other countries from all around the world to play here. As well as that, the Gibraltar Football Association hosted a UEFA U16 Development Tournament here last season in which I was lucky enough to be selected to officiate Macedonia, San Marino, Malta and Gibraltar in a very competitive tournament.”

3 lessons Seth Galia learned in his career

  1. “Control the controllable and the match will play itself, do not overthink anything because you will complicate yourself if you do”. This was advice given to me by fellow referee Denis Perez. This has helped me a lot because I now realize if I overthink it can lead to me not refereeing to the standard I normally would.
  2. “Law 18, the referees law of common sense. Always try and use it before a big decision to make sure it will benefit your match control”. This advice was given to me by English referee Kieran Johnson in Iber Cup Estoril 2015. This has helped me as now the decisions I make will benefit the game more.
  3. “The correct decision is not always the optimum decision”. This was given to me by UEFA referee committee member Jozef Marko. This was the best advice I have been given as it taught me that the Laws Of The Game can be interpreted in different ways, and are not always black and white.

Seth talks about being focused is very important. How do you keep focused? Read 7 tips to stay concentrated for 90 minutes.


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