Blog,  Interviews

How Young Referee Development Programme makes Thomas a better referee

Young match officials can become better by going to the Young Referee Development Programme. Thomas Whay was one of the guys who could go there and learn from it.

Daniel Meeson, The FA’s National Referee Development Manager responsible for Volunteers, about the goals of such a day: “The aim of the Young Referee Development Programme is to ensure all referees are supported, retained and nurtured as they begin and then continue their career journeys”, he says. “The weekend saw us delivering a captivating, inspirational and rewarding weekend for all.”

And how did the referees experience it? An interview with Thomas Whay from Essex by Dutch Referee Blog.

Young Referee Development Programme participant: Thomas Whay
Young Referee Development Programme participant: Thomas Whay
Thomas, could you please introduce yourself?
I am 20 years old, currently with Essex FA. I have been a referee now for 6 years after playing youth football for around 8 years. My youth team folded and I was desperate to carry on within football as I love the game. I decided to take up refereeing and I haven’t looked back since. I love getting up and going out to games, refereeing and watching fellow referees and being involved in a game that is loved all around the world. I am currently a level 5 referee and I am going for my level 4 this season.

You went to the Young Referee Development Programme conference this summer. How was that for you?
Fantastic! I was lucky enough to be in the Essex FA Referee’s academy. With great help from my Referee’s Development Officer I was then offered the chance to get on the Young Referee’s Development Programme. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. The FA are really investing and looking to the young referee’s for the future and this was a fantastic weekend. Everything was well run, everyone from the FA were great and I learnt loads to help me progress as a referee and assistant referee.

What does it mean to you that top officials like Sian Massey, Stuart Burt, Steve Martin and Bobby Madley have all come through the programme?

It’s excellent to think that these people came through the same programme that I am currently on. It inspires me to be where they are and they have proved that it is possible with hard work and dedication. As mentioned above, the FA are really trying to help the young referee’s progress and these top officials are perfect examples that it is paying off.

What are the most important things you learned at the conference? (so others could learn from it at well)
We had 8 practical sessions throughout the weekend and I learnt loads from these. The main thing is to go out there and enjoy yourself. This is how I find I perform to my best. There is also 1 quote which sticks in my mind and this was used a bit over the weekend: “Ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things”. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to get to the top of the game but if you put in the effort & listen to coaches/tutors and fellow referees then it will pay off in the long run.

Watch a video impression of a Young Referee Development Programme:


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