Northern NSW Football’s Level 4 and 3 Fast-Track Referee Course is already having a positive effect with more match officials taking to the pitch across Zone Football League competitions.
Nathan Smith is one of those match officials, having completed the Fast-Track course at the start of June.
The 27-year-old was then handed his first appointments last weekend, acting as an assistant referee for the Zone League Two reserve and first grade matches between Garden Suburb and Minmi Wanderers at Lance York Oval on Sunday.
Smith said he felt ready to step onto the pitch having completed the Fast-Track course.
“[The course] was really good. Pretty straight forward. It covered everything you need to know. I definitely felt equipped with the knowledge,” Smith said.
“There was an adequate amount of time spent learning the basics. I think everything else after that comes down to on-the-job experience. The guys running the course did well and really covered all the bases.”
Smith had no previous experience as a match official before taking on the course. But the previous week his club, Mayfield United Senior FC, were struggling for match officials. So, Smith acted as an assistant referee for a team at his club’s match.
That experience as a community match official was enough to give Smith a taste.
“I always thought about doing it. It just came up from one of the people at the club who posted online about it saying we needed referees,” Smith said.
“Then the Fast-Track course came up. It’s cheap and it was a good time to get involved.”
Smith said he enjoyed his first official appointments in front of a good crowd.
“It was really good. It was fun. There were lots of people and it was a really nice experience,” Smith said.
“I was kept on my toes. I called a few offsides and throw-ins and corners. But there were no major incidents which was good. For someone that enjoys football it was a good day because they were two good games as well.
“I’d definitely recommend the Fast-Track course for anyone interested in becoming a match official. It’s a great way to do it.”
The next Fast-Track Referee Course will be held at the start of July.
Level 4 Fast-Track Referee Course
Night 1: 6pm to 8:30pm, Tuesday 6 July 2021
Night 2: 6pm to 8:30pm, Wednesday 7 July 2021
Newcastle Football (Office), Unit 1/17 Riverside Dr, Mayfield West
Registrations close: 2 July 2021
Participants must attend both nights to pass this course