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Caleigh Ormerod, centre, who was an assistant referee for last year's Women's State Cup final between Queens Park and Northern Redbacks

Caleigh answers the call

Football West News

With the Football West referee recruitment drive in full swing, one young official is encouraging more females to take up the whistle.

Caleigh Ormerod, 16, is one of a growing number of women and girls in WA who are referees.

There are 36 female referees currently registered for the metro competitions this season, a leap of 24% from last year, with more set to join the ranks once they have completed the Level 4 entry course.

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“Yes, definitetly, it’s great,” the Leeming Senior High School Year 12 student said.

“I have been a referee for four years now, I started when I was 12. I was playing and I really love the game and I just wanted to get more involved.

“I thought that reffing would be a way to improve my knowledge of the game – and I got paid as well, so that was good!”

Caleigh still plays and this year will be in the senior ranks at Murdoch University Melville.

“I’d like to continue doing both but I think (long term) I’m going to head down the reffing path,” she said.

“This year I’m doing Level 3 so I’ll be reffing up to under 18s. Before that it’s been up to under 16s, boys and girls.”

Caleigh says being a referee gives her a greater appreciation of why some decisions might go against her team when she is playing.

“I can see why they view it differently when I’m playing,” she said

“And as a referee, the biggest challenge is when some of the coaches don’t agree with some of the decisions I’ve made and they just want to come on and argue.

“It does take some getting used to but you’ve just got to hold your ground.”

So what is the best thing about being a referee? Caleigh doen’t hesitate with her answer.

“What I really like is that get to teach younger kids the rules of the game and how to play safe and fairly, to make it better for everyone,” she said.