A 4 year old girl from West Yorkshire, recently inspired to become a referee, enjoyed a dream day out as she was given a taste of life in the middle.
Clara Walker declared her intention to become a referee after watching official, Melissa Burgin, in action during Garforth Town’s 1-1 draw with Hall Road Rangers. A tweet sent by her father from the fixture, captured the public’s imagination and was spotted by The FA.
The FA responded by inviting Clara to lend her hero a helping hand as she took part in an international fixture at St George’s Park on Tuesday. The youngster joined Melissa and other officials – including the Premier League’s Sian Massey-Ellis – as they prepared for Scotland’s U15’s fixture against Wales U15’s.
Decked out in a full kit and armed with the obligatory whistle, Clara gave the team of officials a pre-match pep talk and then joined as they were put through their paces with a warm-up. She was even given key match day tasks, including checking the nets and testing the kit.
Her father Nathan said: “Black is her favourite colour and when she spotted Melissa in her kit and her similar hair style, at the Garforth Town game, she was fixated and immediately declared she wanted to become a referee. For her to be given the chance to wear the kit, be given a whistle and join Melissa and the other officials on a match day, it was a dream come true. I fear she’ll be blowing the whistle and showing me the red card around the house, for a long time to come!”
Joanna Stimpson, The FA’s Women’s Referee Manager said: “Like many others, we saw the tweet Clara’s father posted about his daughter declaring her desire to be a referee. She was inspired by Melissa and it shows the power of a role model, with 1,300 female officials heading out to pitches across the country every weekend, hopefully there are many other girls of all ages who will be inspired to get involved in the sport.”
To see the footage from Clara’s dream day out, visit www.thefa.com.
Inspired to be a referee? Visit http://www.thefa.com/get-involved/referee/local-county-referee-contacts to register interest.
Report courtesy of the FA