Popularity is growing for our new Female Referee Development Group following initial meetings which have led to representation at FA training events.
The advantages and benefits of being part of the group include access to specialised training, FA Tutors and guest speakers who will aid in their development both on and off the field. Members form part of a networking group with the other female officials around the county, plus they learn from senior officials and role models within the game.
Meetings generally occur at our office in Chelmsford, however there are plans to move the sessions around the county at venues such as Aveley FC and the University of Essex. They’ll normally occur every two months, with practical and theoretical content and speakers examining more off-field preparation, fitness and sports psychology.
All Essex’s female referees were invited to attend the sessions so they could understood the vision for the group and the different pathways available within the game. They first met-up in January, with The FA’s Head of Female Refereeing, Jo Stimpson, and Senior Refereeing Officer, Farai Hallam, delivering a session about the current picture of female refereeing.
James Lisher and Lukas Wood from the Essex County FA Referees Department then detailed the strengths and development areas of their refereeing to focus on for future sessions. Following this event, Essex-registered officials Amy Purser, Cristiana Hattersley, Chloe Butler, Harriet Kemp, Xanthe Davis and Abbie Fox attended an FA Grassroots National Women’s Referee Development Day.
Harriet was also interviewed on BBC Essex to discuss the all-female match official line-up at Leigh Ramblers (Blues) against West Ham United in the Essex Under 14s Girls Cup Final on Sunday 15th April at Burnham Ramblers FC.
Lukas explained the early signs are showing that the group is becoming increasingly popular: “The Female Referee Development Group is important to Essex grassroots football as it is exposing the officials to more opportunities within the game and helping them develop through the refereeing ladder so that they can be part of the senior game.”
“With the extensive and additional sessions we’ll be looking to deliver, the female officials will need to apply to be involved and they’ll go through a selection process, similar to The FA CORE’s (Centre of Refereeing Excellence) Selection Day, which will be around things like laws and fitness.”