In the June edition of Behind the Whistle, Football Queensland caught up with Holly Goodchild to discuss her ongoing efforts to support young referees in her role as Junior Referee Coordinator in Cairns.
Behind the Whistle features dedicated match officials from across the state, highlighting the ways in which they are making a positive impact in the referee community.
When the position of Junior Referee Coordinator became available last year, 20-year-old Goodchild immediately put her hand up to take on the role’s many responsibilities.
The Cairns local has since shown commitment towards developing a strong community amongst young match officials and supporting junior referees in their journey.
“In this role, I have been able to use my own experiences as a young referee to help juniors develop their skills and overcome challenges,” Goodchild said.
“Refereeing is a difficult job because there is no such thing as a perfect game, which means mistakes are made and everyone’s judgement is different.
“It’s really important that junior referees are aware that they have the full support of their club and the rest of the community behind them.”
Goodchild added that the most enjoyable part of her role is helping junior referees improve their skills and watching them progress on the referee pathway.
“The great thing about regional areas like Cairns is that we have such a tight-knit community with lots of involvement, which means we can help younger referees through close communication and hands-on development,” she said.
“We coordinate lots of regular games and training, but there are also plenty of opportunities off the field to hang out and connect.
“I’m able to support the match officials off the pitch as well, which helps them focus when they’re working without being distracted by other elements of life.”
For Goodchild, helping match officials become more confident and comfortable in their role is her number one priority when supporting young referees in their development.
“We currently have some of our top juniors who are around 16-years-old refereeing Senior Men, which at times can be intimidating and challenging for them,” she said.
“It’s really important to prioritise physical and mental safety for young referees, and to ensure they feel confident on and off the field.”
When asked what advice she has for younger referees starting out, Goodchild noted the positive memories they will gain from the experience.
“Refereeing is a lot of fun, and it will create many pathways with lasting friendships,” she said.
“My advice is to jump right in, make some friends, and you are guaranteed to fall in love with refereeing.”
Words: Charlotte Monteath