Name: Fiona Bagley
Zone: Football Mid North Coast
Years Officiating: 2
Fiona Bagley only started playing football at the age of 18 for her school, two years ago, and has since played for her local clubs Kempsey Hornets FC and Kempsey Saints FC.
However, her work and other sporting commitments have reduced the time she is able to play the game she loves so Fiona decided to have a go at refereeing which, she admits, is something she now loves.
“I really love playing and watching football, however with university and other sporting commitments, I didn’t have the opportunity to play so I thought I’d give refereeing a go and I’ve really enjoyed it,” she said.
“I like being out on the field especially when refereeing competitive teams or close games. It’s fun.
“Refereeing helps build confidence – something I really lacked, it helps improve fitness as you run a lot to keep up with play and you also get to meet new people.”
Although Fiona is only a couple of years into her career as a match official, she has already begun to achieve some high honours and is hoping to continue to improve and develop her skills.
“I’m pretty new to refereeing, but getting to officiate my first women’s game last year was pretty cool and also refereeing in the Herald Women’s Premier League would have to be my highlights
“I also got to run the line in a Newcastle Jets last year in Taree which was a really good experience too.
“Being able to referee a professional game would be any referee’s goal I think, but my immediate goal would be to ref a men’s first grade game in the next year or coming seasons.”
As many would agree, being a match official can often be tough at times, and although Fiona agrees, she confessed she’s learnt a few things to counter potential match official negativity.
“I would have to say hearing some of the comments from the sideline would have to be the most challenging,” she said.
“It’s hard trying not to take it to heart or even listen, particularly if you’re a young referee or just starting out. Some of the comments you hear can be so disheartening especially when you’re trying your best.
“Some of my advice to other referees is to be confident on the field even if you’re not 100% sure. The more confident you are as a referee the more players will respect your decision.”
For any in the local football community thinking about giving refereeing a go, especially females, Fiona believes it’s a brilliant opportunity.
“I would really encourage more females to become referees as it’s very male dominant and there is no reason why it has to be,” she said.
“I would just tell anyone interested that the benefits definitely outweigh the challenges and express how much fun it is.”
Thank you to Fiona and all referees for their contribution to our great game.