SummerRefs: Mike Cowie from New Zealand

Today, the second edition of SummerRefs has something special: the referee comes from southern hemispere, so this actually is a WinterRefs. In this section refs from all over the world and all with different experiences will tell about their refereeing career and how they prepare for next season during this summer break.

Each Saturday a new profile will be posted online, and the second person who answers the five questions (5W’s) is Mike Cowie from New Zealand.

Name: Mike Cowie
Age: 20
Hometown: Christchurch, New Zealand
Started refereeing: in 2007
Grade: Level 4 (Level 1 being the lowest)

Mike Cowie

Who do you think you are (as referee)?
“I would hate to have to say “I am a referee similar to x,” but there are certainly a few referees that I consider as good models to try to emulate certain aspects of their game. But some referees who I do take a lot from:

Peter O’Leary – One of New Zealand’s representatives at the last world cup. He’s tall, like me, and he is an outstanding communicator, and a brave decision-maker. He doesn’t so much demand respect as earn it.

Howard Webb – Well, world cup final referee, he’s got to be on the list! Again, like Peter, an excellent communicator, a brilliant referee for those cruch games, and I like that he doesn’t give soft cards for technical offenses until the player gives him no other option- he’s good at man-managing those situations.

Collina – A true student of the game, it seems he often knew more about the teams he was refereeing that what the teams themselves knew about their opponent. His performance on the 2002 final has to be one of the best ever, and the smiles on his face during that match were never forced- he was quite simply in the zone, in his element, the absolute peak of the absolute best.”

Why did you start refereeing?
“A classmate had taken the course, officiated one game as an AR, and then quit. He suggested I take the course a few weeks later, so I did, and I started refereeing the year after that.”

What are your goals in refereeing?
“I’m not really a goal-setting type. I’m 20 years old, the sky’s the limit. I am aware that even if I do achieve a high enough level of performance to become an elite referee, the amount of dedication and sacrifice that needs to be made- to my family and to my career- might simply be too high. But I’m too young to be building a ceiling on my future yet.”

“In the short term, the aims are always the same- appointments to the biggest matches at the level I am officiating at, or appointments to games at the next level, which would be ASB Premiership (the national league) as an AR, or to the top Federation league in my region as a referee.”

Which decision would you like to recall?
“There are lots that I’d love to have a second look, but on saturday apparently I missed a player who stuck his hand into the air to handle a ball above his head! It led to a yellow card for dissent when I later gave a penalty for an obvious handling offense.”

What do you do in preparation for next season?
“We’re in the middle of our winter season at the moment (national leagues run in summer and local/regional leagues run in winter.) We train right through the summer at least a couple of times a week, plus we have national leagues running- I was an AR on the National Men’s Youth and National Women’s Youth Leagues.”

“But just as the pre-season matches were beginning for the winter leagues, Christchurch was struck by a devastating earthquake which killed 181 people and caused massive damage. Amazingly the top league in the region started on time a month later, but during that time the last thing on anyone’s mind had been football. Certainly my fitness after a month of comfort-eating and not training was not quite where it had been, and further disruptions to my University timetable since have had me often unable to attend training sessions. All in all I will be very happy to see the end of 2011.”

Read the previous parts of this section:
1. Pedro Nuno Mendes from Portugal

Are you interested in answering the 5W’s, please let me know via @DutchReferee on Twitter or e-mail to dutchreferee at gmail.com.

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