Like many families, older brother Zach Butchard paved the way for his two younger brothers.
Zach has been refereeing for four years after his mum suggested the idea, having thought it would be an interesting way to earn some money while remaining involved in football.
With Zach leading the way as a match official, that helped inspire younger brothers Connor and Bailey to pick up a whistle as well.
Northern NSW Football is celebrating Newcastle Permanent Referee Recognition Week from July 20 to 26, thanking the wonderful match officials who make playing football across northern NSW possible.
Zach (17), Connor (15) and Bailey (13) are part of a proud football family.
While Zach attends All Saints’ College, St Mary’s Campus and plays football for Thornton Redbacks, Connor and Bailey attend All Saints’ College, St Peter’s Campus and play with Maitland FC.
And now, all three brothers have a taste for refereeing.
“What I love about refereeing is that it is fun and keeps me active while I enjoy it,” Zach said.
“The pressure of bigger games is a challenge. But people who are interested in refereeing should give it a try because it is very enjoyable and involves the sport they play or know.”
Zach has already officiated in an NPL Youth final and regards Northern NSW Football’s own Brad Carlin and Jake Southward as refereeing influences alongside Hunter Valley Football’s John Hanlon.
Connor has been refereeing for two years and has already officiated a WPL Girls final and aims to one day referee an NPL final.
“I love the ability to be in charge. Being judged on your every call is one challenge I have faced refereeing. Refereeing builds confidence,” Connor said.
Bailey meanwhile is in his first year of refereeing and said he just loved being involved in football.
“Sometimes you get nervous about making the right call [but] it’s fun and an easy way to earn money and enjoy football.”