Refereeing started out as a hobby I did for fun to make quick pocket money for some exercise. But after five years of refereeing with New Westminster Soccer Club and the last couple of years with Mountain United FC, refereeing has become an important part of my life. My Head Referee at New Westminster helped me realize that with hard work, I could get myself to a higher level of refereeing, such as Regional or Provincial. So I pushed myself to improve with each game, and I would watch professional matches on TV of my favourite clubs to analyze how the referees moved, signalled and the decisions they made. My hard work led me to officiate in the BCSPL, where I got to officiate a higher level of football which drastically improved my refereeing. I worked with skilled referees like our Head Referee, Angela Pellerin, who gave me encouraging feedback that helped me improve myself. Later, I would get to referee in regional and provincial championships, which opened me up to more feedback from referee mentors and assessors.
For school, I am enrolled in the Sustainable Energy Engineering program at SFU. I really enjoy refereeing because it gives me something to pursue outside of school as I try to upgrade to a Regional Referee status. I think refereeing provides me with something to care about unrelated to school so that my life does not revolve around engineering. I also enjoy the friends that I have made from provincial tournaments and being part of the referee community. It helps to know that my friends will praise me after a good game and support me after a difficult one. My best memories as a referee are when the referees would go out for dinners during provincial tournaments, and we could unwind by joking about our funny referee experiences. I have also reached new heights as a referee with friends as they worked with me in my first Canada West assignment.
Refereeing is an active job. This means being fed enough to run in a 90 minute game. Every person knows themself the best, but I recommend something light, such as oatmeal and banana, about 2-3 hours before the game. Try to arrive at your game 30-45 minutes before kickoff to give you enough time to warm up and complete your pre-match duties. The best advice that I have for new referees is to have fun with it. What I learned after five years of experience is to accept that I will make mistakes and to learn from them. No referee will go their entire career without messing something up, so listen to the feedback that you are given and look to improve yourself with each game.