Sohail Asghar: “As referee I benefit from being a coach as well”

Sohail Asghar is a 21-year-old referee. He has been refereeing since 2011-12 and will start his 7th season as a match official after this summer. He’ll not only talk about his refereeing experience, but also how being a football coach helps him as a referee.

How did you get involved in refereeing? 

Sohail Asghar: “I got into refereeing through a youth club I used to volunteer at. At the time we was organising a local football tournament and the manager of the youth club put us through a referees course. I did the course as it was a free course. I enjoyed the course and then went on to buying a kit.”

Sohail Asghar

Refereeing on different time means different prep

Where do you officiate and what does your refereeing weekend usually look like?

“As a level 5 referee I currently referee in my county Lancashire, England. I referee on the West Lancashire Football League (WLFL) and the Blackburn Sunday League (BSL). My weekend normally consists of me either being assistant referee on the North West Counties Supply League (NWCSL) or refereeing on the (WLFL). I wake up in the morning have some breakfast and at 11am I prepare for my game which takes place in the afternoon. On Sundays the games on the BSL take place in the mornings so my preparation is different as I wake up at different times and eat differently.”

Do you go to a referee association or train for yourself?

“As I am part of my Counties Referees Development Group we have physical training which takes place for an hour and then 90 minutes of classroom training with referees who are at the same level as myself. Currently, my local RA’s do not run physical training sessions however, previously did. I attend Accrington and Blackburn referees society meetings each month.  I go to the gym five days a week and sometimes train myself at the local parl.”

Swimming and archery

In your Twitter bio you mention also archery leader and swimming instructor. How do these things relate to refereeing?

“I think these sports benefit me physically and mentally. Archery helps develop mental toughness and focus. Swimming has holistic benefits. I do these sports for fun and enjoyment as they are promoted by my religion alongside wrestling. They relate to refereeing by developing different skills which benefit me as a referee such as mental toughness in refereeing focusing for 90 minutes.

How coaching helps Sohail Asghar

You are a football coach too. How does that influence/help you as a referee?

“A coaching role in football benefits me by understanding how coaches and players feel when decisions are made for and against my team. It allows me to watch other referees and to learn from them. Being a coach gives me a different view of the game, because a coach is like a spectator watch from the side-lines so you are watching the game from a different position and sometimes see things differently.”

What do you tell the kids you coach that will help referees?

“I tell the kids that they need to show respect to the referee and anything they disagree with to either speak to me or the referee in a stoppage in play showing respect. I have told the players if the referee does not give us a free kick play on till the whistle is blown.”

Goals for the future

What are your refereeing goals for next year? And how are you going to achieve them?

Sohail Aghar’s goals as referee. “To say motivated. Refereeing on a consistent basis, getting fitter and hopefully that will lead to a promotion.”

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

  • Be strong
  • Work hard
  • Make sure your administration is up to date (i.e. open dates and close dates)

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