Ackworth teenagers take first steps to becoming referees

Young referees in the making Jack Barry and Joe Atha with qualified official Andy Coupland.
Young referees in the making Jack Barry and Joe Atha with qualified official Andy Coupland.

Two Ackworth Juniors FC players have taken their first steps on the ladder to becoming qualified referees.

Fourteen-year-olds Jack Barry and Joe Atha, who play for the under 14s, answered the call from club secretary Andy Coupland to find the next generation of referees.

Coupland, himself a Level 7 referee with over 10 years experience in the middle, will mentor the two Ackworth teenagers as they gain experience and study for their FA Basic Referee Course qualification and gain the Level Y standard.

Barry, a pupil at St Wilfrid’s Catholic High School, said: “I really enjoy playing football, but thought being a referee is a good way to learn all the rules of the game and see the match from a different point of view and also make important decisions.”

Atha, who attends The King’s School in Pontefract, explained: “I like to keep fit and I think the role of the referee means you’ll have to run up and down the pitch a lot.

“I would like to become a referee and think this is a great opportunity for me.

“At times I think I might have said a little too much to the referee – this will great for me because I’ll understand and appreciate just how hard it is to get things right all the time and it will help with my own game too.”