Having been involved in football as a player and a coach, the more opportunities that being in the middle brings, has steered Beth Rattray towards refereeing as a way to stay in the game.
Starting out as a Match Official, Rattray admits her past playing and coaching experience has come in handy for when she steps out into the middle.
“Having played and coached helps me to read the play better and anticipate where the ball is likely to go, and then get in the best position accordingly.
“It also means I know what the players and coaches will be feeling and thinking and therefore I can handle situations a lot better.”
Auckland Football Federation runs a mentor programme for its referees, with the role being to share experiences and knowledge and to help their mentee develop as match official. Rattray’s mentor is Katie Goulding.
“Katie has helped a lot as she has been a referee and knew how I’d be feeling, especially when I first started.
“She helped me with controlling the nerves before a game as she had experienced similar situations.
“Even with her busy schedule she would come and watch and support me or when she wasn’t able to attend matches she was always available for me to call her and discuss anything.
“This has helped me as a referee as I knew I always had someone to talk to and support me.”
The mentor programme is part of a support network which Rattray believes is crucial for anyone starting out as a referee at a young age.
“The support network around me is very important, there are very few of us and especially when starting young everyone around you is very important and they are all really supportive.
“I felt really welcomed when I first started refereeing, they made it very clear from the start that everyone is there to help you and even when I was being assessed on a game it made me feel more supported knowing they were there to give me feedback to be able to help me improve.”
Rattray has taken her match official experiences to new heights in recent years, including being an Assistant Referee for an international friendly, something she hopes to build on with the end goal of attending a FIFA World Cup.
“Getting to be an Assistant Referee between the New Zealand A and Thailand Women’s side in 2016 is probably my most memorable moment to date.
“This game was televised on Sky Sport before one of the Wellington Phoenix matches.”
“I would like to go as far as I can in the game and hopefully become a FIFA Match Official with the ultimate goal of officiating at a World Cup.”