We recently sat down for a chat with 21-year-old referee Harry Walker AS PART OF OUR YOUNG LEADERS SERIES LOOKING INTO WHAT INSPIRES YOUNG LEADERS ON JERSEY.
What inspired you to become a referee?
I always wanted to be involved in football in as many ways as possible and as I was picking up coaching, I realised it would be handy to know how to referee a game. I signed up for FA Referee course with the intention of it helping my coaching but really enjoyed being in the middle so stuck at it and now find myself officiating in front of paid spectators at Step 5 and 6 whilst I’m at university!
What do you enjoy about refereeing?
I enjoy being in the front row for everything that happens on the pitch. I have the best view of the game and get to have a run around whilst doing it. Meeting many people who also just love football and being involved at the game is also brilliant and something I really enjoy about refereeing.
What skills do you feel you have developed through refereeing?
There are many skills I have developed through refereeing, and I feel that they all help me on the pitch, in my general life and will be a major help when I start work next year. Some key ones for me are communication and people management. Communication helps with managing the game and allowing everyone to know what is happening, whether that’s through verbal or non-verbal communication. People management is also huge in refereeing and great for me as I train to be a secondary PE teacher. Managing people is all about setting expectations and being able to keep people accepting, even if they don’t necessarily agree.
What advice would you give to somebody who is interested in becoming a referee?
Just give it a go! It may be something you really enjoy and helps to develop a wide variety of skills that relate to being on a pitch and in everyday life. On the other hand it might end up not being for you but the skills you learn in the time you do it and the people you meet will have an effect on you and make a difference.