“A Sudden Flash-back to My first Ref game” – Rodric Leerling

“A Sudden Flash-back to My first Ref game” – Rodric Leerling


My first ref coaching game is on the roster for this weekend. It brings back memories of my first official game as FA ref back in the winter of 2004. I was assigned to a ref coach I never met before. We chatted in his car on our way to the U14 game. I told him had been reffing U12 games at the local club for two years so I felt quite relaxed. On top top that, I wasn’t that young anymore, I even could be these kids’ dad.

The game is still fixed in my memory after 12 years. I was in control but in second half, after the away team scored a goal, out of the blue, one home player flipped and started strangling his opponent, throwing him on the ground. I was completely taken by surprise, in kind of shock but instinctively tried to intervene. Other people jumped in too and could barely stop him from suffocating his opponent. I showed him my first red card, which made him even madder and had to be dragged off the pitch by three adults.

Because of the sudden incident I totally forgot what happened shortly before and what the re-start should be. I looked around to find my assessor and he nodded to the centre point. Of course, I totally forgot, a goal was just scored. I finished the game shortly after and walked back to my locker room. My coach predicted a knock on the door shortly after. It only took 2 minutes and, behold, there was the home coach. If we could talk about the red card. We refused to withdraw the red card despite the story of the opponent having challenged him.

I was happy I had a coach with me who helped me to look through the complex situation. Let’s hope things won’t get out of hands this bad on my first coach game. Not for me, but for the new rookie referee.

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