Full name: Rebecca Davies
What prompted you to become a football referee?
My love and passion for the game. I wanted to make a difference and I wanted to make the game as fair and as enjoyable as possible for the people watching and the players.
How old were you when you started and what was the timeline of how you got to where you are with being in the Westfield W-league?
I was 23. I joined Macquarie and did my level 4 in 2014. After a few months, I decided to join the Northern NSW (NNSW) State League. I refereed two Grand Finals in my first year – U12s for Macquarie and U18s Herald WPL for NNSW State Leagues, and I was awarded Rookie of the Year for Macquarie.
In my second year, I continued to referee with NNSW and was invited to attend the Targeted Athlete Program (TAP) Camp in Coffs Harbour where I excelled and was nominated for the National Talent Program.
In my second year of refereeing, I was given the Herald WPL 1st Grade Grand Final, as well as the 4th Official on the PS4 NPL 22’s Grand Final.
I was invited to the Northern NSW Football Annual Awards night and I received the award for Northern NSW Rookie of the Year.
In my third year, I was nominated and attended the girls U15s National Championships in Coffs Harbour.
Later that year I was invited to attend the National Training Challenge at the AIS where I refereed the girls trialling for the U17 Young Matildas squad.
At the end of last season, I was appointed to the PS4 NPL 23s Grand Final.
I received an award for Level 3 referee of the year at NNSW State League presentation night.
After passing the National Women’s fitness test I was also put onto the Westfield W-League’s 4th officials panel for the 2016/17 Season.
Do you play Football? Who for?
I don’t play football anymore, however, I used to play for Central Coast Lightning 1st Grade Women’s in the Sydney State League Competition. I’ve played football since I was 4 years old, went to Hunter Sports High School Program for Football whilst I was there from Year 7 to Year 12. I played in the Bill Turner Cup and since then, with becoming a referee, I started refereeing these games this season to give back to the community and be a part of the Bull Turner Cup again.
I also played representative football for Macquarie for a few years while still playing for my local club at Bel-Swans JSC where I started out as a junior.
If you play football, how has becoming a referee changed the way you approach the game as a player?
Since I finished playing before I started refereeing I can’t comment, however, having played football, it has helped me to understand the game from both sides. Understanding the way the game is played, the passion and frustrations of players, and how to use these skills to make decisions and cooperate with players to have the best game possible for all involved.
As a woman, did you find it more difficult to either become a referee or as a referee run into any challenges due to your gender?
Absolutely not. If you put the work in on and off the pitch, learn the laws of the game, work hard as a good team player, then you will go as far as you want.
How do you feel female participation will change the landscape of football?
It gives other young women inspiration and aspirations to either play or referee football, the more young girls and women that get involved the better and bigger the sport will become in Australia.
What have you learnt as a referee that you’ve been able to apply in real life?
I’ve learned to have a lot of discipline, patience, and to be calm in heated situations. To be able to think, focus and make quick decisions.
During your time refereeing, how have you seen the game change?
It’s become faster, more tactical, physical, and more enjoyable to watch and referee.
What is it about football that you love?
I love the passion, seeing teams work together for a common goal, the skills it takes, the cracking goals – just about everything, really!
What do you most enjoy about refereeing?
I love the banter, but on a serious note, I like making a difference, making the game fair and helping the players and spectators enjoy the game.
Have you ever experienced any negativity as a referee? How did you over it?
Unfortunately, yes, you can’t always make everyone happy. It’s a passionate sport and people are entitled to their opinions, whether they are negative or positive – that’s life! You just have to be strong, ignore most of it, and deal with what you need to and get on with it.
If there was one piece of advice you could pass down to new referees or people thinking about becoming referees, what would it be?
Always accept and take as much feedback as you can get. Criticism won’t always be positive or constructive, but take it all in and use it to your advantage.
Is there anything about refereeing you don’t like? Why?
Getting sore feet!
Would you encourage your friends to become referees?
Of course! It’s fun, it’s a great way to keep fit, and you get to meet a lot of new people.
Do you have a mentor? If yes, who? What is the most important thing they’ve taught you?
Not one person in particular, but I’ve been lucky to have been coached by many people who have refereed at National and International levels, as well as officiated with them in the Westfield W-League. But the most important thing I’ve learned is to stay humble, work hard, and stay true to your friends and yourself.
Outside of football and refereeing, what are your other extracurricular activities?
I go to the gym, out for food with friends, I love going to the beach, and going out to the movies.
Do you follow the A-League? If so, which team do you support?
I watch most games, but I don’t have a team.
About Newcastle Permanent Referee Recognition Week
Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) and Community Football Partner, Newcastle Permanent Building Society (NPBS), have extended the annual Referee Recognition Weekend to a week this year to celebrate the region’s Referees!
The recognition of referees is integral to the Newcastle Permanent Community Football partnership with the Community Referee of the Month Award celebrated monthly throughout the 2017 Season.
Newcastle Permanent Referee Recognition Week now gives the football community the chance to show our appreciation to our referees and match officials and show they are valued members of the football family who are respected by players, coaches and supporters alike.
Referee Recognition Week will commence from today, Monday 24th July to Sunday 30th July 2017. Throughout the week, NNSWF and NPBS will share stories of Referees in the region and share their journeys and experiences throughout their time refereeing.
On match days, clubs are encouraged to thank each of the referees and show their appreciation of their hard work that makes our game so enjoyable and safe.