The Surrey FA Academy seeks to develop young referees by identifying their strengths and assisting them with their development.
This is the start of our third year running the Surrey FA Referee Academy and we currently have 57 Academy members, both male and female.
The Referee Academy is not only for young and newly promoted referees but also for those who want to develop their skills in an environment free from any hostility which can be an inhibiting factor at local level. Apart from helping to improve refereeing and assistant refereeing skills, we are also pleased to have been able to retain those referees who leave the county to attend University around the UK. Through our Referee Development Officer we have managed to place them with local leagues but also see them return to the Academy to officiate when they are home during holidays.
A large pool of experienced coaches help out at weekends by providing live one-to-one feedback. Those referees who show potential or talent may be recommended for the Development Group and from there could be further recommended for The FA Core group. The Academy offers a clear pathway for young and up and coming referees to follow and achieve their ambitions.
Gordon Harrison and Peter Ashdown, who run the Academy, commented; “We have both been really pleased with the level of interest shown by Surrey referees wanting to be members of the Academy and are also delighted for those who have gone on to be promoted and moved into adult football, which is the objective”.
As part of our ongoing #ThisIsSurreyFootball campaign, where we have been asking individuals about their experience of the grassroots game in Surrey, we spoke to Academy referees Oliver Hind [OH] and Ben Maskery [BM] briefly to ask them about how being part of the Academy has been for them.
What have you gained being part of the academy?
OH: “Being part of the academy has allowed me to fine tune my refereeing skills and develop both my decision making and match control whilst progressing through the various academy age groups up to being able to act as an assistant on U23 matches”.
BM: “I enjoy being in control and having the challenge of coming up against all different match situations and how no two matches are the same, so I must handle each match in its own way. I also enjoy that it is a different way of viewing football rather than playing it or being a coach, I can go about my job whilst enjoying a game of football”.
How important is respect to you as a referee?
OH: “Respect is the cornerstone of the relationship between the referee and the coaches, players and supporters. It is something that ensures the game runs smoothly and is enjoyable for all, it must run in both directions in order for everybody to get the most out of their match”
BM: “I like the way that Peter Ashdown and Gordon Harrison are always looking to help me develop by giving me tips and pieces of advice to get the best out of me as a referee. I also like being given challenging games that will push me as they help me to improve quicker as I can learn from any mistakes after the game as very often one of (if not both) are there to observe and give feedback and any points of improvement they pick up on”
What do you hope to achieve by being part of the referee’s academy?
OH: “Being part of the academy has allowed me to fine tune my refereeing skills and develop both my decision making and match control whilst progressing through the various academy age groups up to being able to act as an assistant on U23 matches”
BM: “My goal from the academy is to improve and become the best referee I can be. I want to be able to move up through the levels with the help of Peter and Gordon and see how far I can go”.
We are always on the lookout for new members as the Chelsea, Fulham and Chelsea Women’s Academies have a record number of fixtures planned for the season. If you’re interested in joining the Academy or finding out more, please contact us on Refeees@SurreyFA.com.