Congratulations to Alison Macready on being named the rebel Female Football Week Referee of the Year.
Alison is dedicated and focused referee who is breaking down barriers. Alison is a valued contributor to the growth of Football in Northern NSW Football and NNSWF would like to thank her immensely for her continued work in football.
In 2017 females only made up 8% of referees across Northern NSW; Alison is encouraging other females to join her give refereeing a go as well.
NNSWF is facilitating a female-only Level 4 Referee Course in April – Register Now!
Name: Alison Macready
Age started refereeing: 21
Five years ago, I joined Macquarie Football Referees Association, and three years ago I started refereeing with Northern NSW Football.
Since then, I have been given many opportunities for which I am very grateful;
Refereeing two Bill Turner Trophy finals and officiating as an assistant referee on two others, refereeing two Herald WPL 1st Grade finals, attaining my Level 2 and Level 1 (Theory) Referee qualifications. Coaching at the last two NNSWF TOP Camps for Girls, assisting with a variety of courses for Referees and Assessors, refereeing on FFA Cup, NNSWF Heritage Cup and NNSWF Women’s State Cup matches and refereeing on NPL trial matches.
Why did you choose to referee?
I originally chose to referee because I was “running lines” on a volunteer basis after playing, and some other referees suggested I may as well get qualified and get paid for what I was doing.
I chose to get out in the middle because I’m competitive and wanted to prove I could do it.
Four years ago, I made a deliberate choice to stop playing so I could focus on refereeing, I realised I was a better referee than I was player. I enjoyed refereeing more than playing, and I wanted to give the best I could back to the game while I was still relatively young and injury free.
Why is female referee participation so important to football within Northern NSW?
As in any area, female and male referees bring different perspectives and strengths to football.
This is equally true for referees. Just like their male counterparts, female referees bring a different perspective to the sport.
It’s critical to have female participation in all aspects of football, including refereeing. It’s important that we continue to increase the number of female referees within Northern NSW, not so that we can reach a point where women’s matches are officiated on exclusively by female referees, but so that female participants can see that other females are involved and succeeding in all areas of football. It’s not about building exclusivity, but inclusivity, and as female participation in football continues to grow in Northern NSW, it’s important that female referee participation also continues to grow.
Why are you still refereeing?
There are so many reasons! I enjoy the challenge of continually pushing myself to improve, working to break down barriers and striving to reach the next level. I get to officiate on a wide variety of competitions and experience many different aspects and levels of football. Every season, every weekend, every game has its up and downs and brings something new. Every game deserves the best I can give, and every game is a chance to do better than before. I take great satisfaction from working with younger referees and seeing them develop in confidence, knowledge and ability. And as a bonus, I have the incredible good fortune to get paid to be outside participating in a game I love. Why wouldn’t I still be refereeing!?
How has football shaped / influenced you?
Although it sounds cliché, football provides many great examples of what can be achieved through teamwork, the importance of every person on the team doing their part and working for the good of the team, and the critical role that team leaders play. It’s not necessarily the team with the best player that wins – it’s the team that best works together, complementing each other’s strengths and supporting each other’s weaknesses. Refereeing has had a major impact on my life. Through refereeing and related roles, I have grown in self-confidence and developed public-speaking and communication skills. I am constantly presented with chances to develop my ability to not only work as part of a team but to take responsibility for leading the team. I have had to practice my self-control and professionalism, develop my empathy and flexibility, and learn to trust the judgement of myself and my colleagues. These skills and attributes that I’ve developed through refereeing, and the lessons I’ve learnt along the way, have been of great benefit in other areas of my life.
Best football moment?
Last year, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to officiate on the Herald WPL 1st Grade Final. On paper and from previous encounters it was expected to be a great game, and it certainly lived up to all expectations, ending up at 4-3. Being able to play a role in such an exciting and entertaining match was a privilege I will not forget for a long time.
What would you tell someone thinking of getting involved with football?
Give it a go! Football will give you an opportunity to forge friendships, get/stay fit, and develop skills and attributes that will serve you well throughout life. It can be a social activity or a development pathway – you control how seriously you want to take it, but the more you are willing to invest of yourself, the more you stand to gain in return.