It took Wendy Fisher from the Cayman Islands only four years to become an international referee. She’ll be heading to Portugal for the Algarve Cup later this week.
“I expect to gain a lot of experience in the internationals scene, being that this is my first international tournament and contact with other international referees”, Wendy Fisher says in an interview with Dutch Referee Blog. “I expect to learn and meet new people and cultures.”You’ve only been a referee for a short time. How did you manage to get on the Fifa list so fast?
Wendy Fisher: “I started as a football player and after a while I made the decision to not be a player, but to continue with the sport as an official. I started refereeing in 2009, and I became enthused and excited about performing to the highest level to get on the list. Every opportunity I got to officiate, I did it with a passion, as football is a passionate sport to me. Making the FIFA list within a short time, was showing my leaders that I wanted this opportunity to represent my country.”
How do you combine your full time job als civil officer at the Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing and your life as mother of three children with refereeing?
Wendy Fisher: “Being a Government employee with the Department of Vehicle & Drivers’ Licensing and a full time mother and officiating is hard work, but as a little girl growing up in the Cayman Islands, I’ve always had to set priorities and goals and create opportunities. Having that mentality to prioritise and set goals, has stuck with me as an adult. Being a mother of three (two boys and one girl), I have to be able to manage my time wisely. I also have the support from my employer and my children who are my biggest supporter’s with my refereeing career, which drives me to do what I do.”
The number of female referees is way behind in most countries compared to the number of male referees. You started refereeing after playing football. Is that a problem in your country too? Why should young women or female ex-players start whistling?
Wendy Fisher: “In the Cayman Islands we are trying to encourage a lot of players to become referees while still being a player. We have a referee drive every year to encourage and recruit new referees on an annually basis by conducting this drive we have an estimate of some five to six referees who join our group.”“We have seen over the years that our male list has a significant growth over our female list, so we have a current focus to drive females to join our group.”
“Young women and ex-players, I think, should become referees, because of their experience and knowledge; also if it is a passionate sport to them, they should remain with the sport just in a different capacity. I thought being a player was fun, but after I was introduced to officiating, I found that I enjoy it a little more than being a player. You learn so much more than a player, not saying that players don’t learn much of the sport, but the officials have to learn the sport inside out. In some countries some players don’t get the opportunity to travel as a player at an high level, but when you are an official of the game, you learn different cultures and meet new people.”
Your refereeing colleague Carline Reid-Willis was the first female international referee from your country, just one year before you got selected for the Fifa list in 2013. How important is she for you to learn from and is it difficult for referees in your country that there’s not many international experience so far?
Wendy Fisher: “Mrs. Carline Reid-Willis is a very important person to me personally as well as in my refereeing career. Mrs. Reid-Willis is a Physical Education teacher with one of the high schools here in the Cayman Islands, with her knowledge and experience she helps me to train, keep fit and stay focused on and off the field of play.”
How are the training facilities in your country?
Wendy Fisher: “The training facilities here in the Cayman Islands are great, the referees have the access to the grounds, which allows us to train and prepare for the officiating of games.”
When will you go to Portugal and meet the other referees? And what do you expect from the Algarve Cup?
Wendy Fisher: “I have to be in Portugal for the 28th February 2014 where I will meet the other referees. I expect to gain a lot of experience in the internationals scene, being that this is my first international tournament and contact with other international referees – I expect to learn and meet new people and cultures.”
What are your goals in refereeing?
Wendy Fisher: “My refereeing goal is to continue to excel to the highest level of my refereeing career and to share those experiences with my referee colleagues.”
Can we see you at the 2015 World Cup in Canada?
Wendy Fisher: “I would be enthused to be at 2015 World Cup in Canada, but that all depends on my performance and the selection committee who select the referees.”