To my surprise I was assigned to a rookie referee I accompanied at one of her first matches for the Dutch FA, late 2016. She proved to have made big progress.
She had prepared her match and told me she remembered a crucial decision made in another match with one of the current teams on the roster. It didn’t seem to bother her, neither the fact that the U17 teams were boys of her age. She could handle them.
I was a little bothered though by the fact that female refs are announced that way in the match app. Where normally refs are announced just with their initials+surname, someone behind a desk thought it was useful to add ‘ms’ to the name in case it’s a female ref. This way, everyone would know days ahead of the game they were going to have a female ref. I made the FA aware of this, of course and suggested to change this useless addition in the system.
Well, the boys had no time to make any comments about her or her performance as she was fast and clear in her decisions. No messing with my female rookie ref! I was proud of her.
During half time we chatted a bit and I could give her some tips how to become a smarter ref. For example using the whistle instead of just her (soft) voice. And anticipating a bit more where you to expect the ball after a retake and start running earlier. She swallowed it all in and nodded.
She suffered a typical slight ref dip in the middle of the 2nd half. She lost sight on the outcome of an injury which she didn’t call a foul, but still had stopped the game for. But without a clear signal, letting the goalkeeper in possession of the ball for about a minute. Her mental ref check system has still to be perfected, but she still has time being just 17 years of age….
My report was filled with +++ for some appropriate decisions: yellow card for a careless tackle; playing advantage with a goal as result; being at the right spot noticing the ball crossing the goal line; and a verbal caution for the away coach commenting her decisions loudly.
I recommended the FA to test her on a higher level next season. No doubt, she will do well.