We love this…
Liverpool are getting many of the Academy players on referee courses and a number of our teenagers are already qualified refs.
Young forward Okera Simmonds, who plies his trade for the Under-18s, has discussed it with the official website – claiming it’s beneficial to see what it’s like being on the other foot.
“The week before last, eight of us did a test here and we all passed. We reffed each other in games and stuff on the indoor pitch, then came in here and did the test, which was out of 50. Two days later we found out we’re all qualified refs,” he said.
“Not everyone did it because we all have different schedules with school and training, but me, Liam Coyle, Anthony Driscoll-Glennon, Adam Lewis, Liam Millar, Glen McAuley, Ben Williams and Marley Blair did it.
“On a Saturday morning, we could go out there and referee the U12s to earn a bit of money. I think it’s £30 a game and when we heard that we were all like ‘that sounds good, I want to do that!’
“I’m tempted because it’s extra money and it’s good experience as well, because we can see how it is on matchdays.
“Obviously as players we give referees stick but we never see it from their point of view, so it’s good for our understanding of how they see the game and how they feel and the decisions they have to make.
“I’d never thought about that before. We all came in on the day thinking it was going to be boring, a drag, but when we all did it, it was actually fun. It was dead engaging and everyone liked it.”
This is great for a number of reasons:
Firstly, below the age of 17, there’s no guarantee our Academy players will make it professionally, so they’re being armed with a skill that could eventually become a job if they don’t make the playing grade.
Secondly, it teaches the kids people skills and communication. Referring is a mighty hard job which requires leadership and decision-making skills – something required in all walks of life.
Thirdly, they’ll get a greater understanding of the game and what constitutes fouls and what doesn’t.
Well done LFC.