The Cadet Referee program continues its success this year at St Georges Basin Football Club. This is a program that has been active in the club for many years, overseen by long-time club member, Robbie Little.
In recent years, Junior Coordinator Jenny Sim and Robbie have pushed to increase participation in the program. In May 2018, club member and Shoalhaven referee Daniel (Dan) MacQueen took over the position of Cadets Coordinator after Robbie Little had to retire due to health reasons.
The program sees members from age 10 completing referee courses and being mentored through regular group meetings where they can put their theory into practice.
Dan MacQueen advised that he was more than happy to take on the role as Cadets Coordinator as he strongly believes that cadet referees need guidance, mentoring and feedback from someone with years of experience.
Mentoring results in the cadets enjoying their role and feeling confident in it. Dan himself has been a referee in the Shoalhaven District for over 10 years, spending the last five years reffing 1st grade matches.
Since taking over cadets in May, Dan has been hosting weekly training sessions. Sessions run for an hour and cover all aspects of the game including laws of the game, positioning, assistant-referee duties, communication skills, use of the whistle/whistle tones and running angles.
Ensuring the cadets enjoy the sessions is important to ensure continued participation. A recent example of this was Dan securing new whistles from the Referee Association. The cadets loved the following activity of hiding around the grounds and blowing their new whistles as loud as they could.
There are a number of benefits of the cadet referee program for the cadet, the club and for Shoalhaven Football in general. The cadet referee becomes more confident earlier on in their career. They experience ‘making mistakes’ in a safe/supported environment. The cadets also get to earn an income from their work, and it is a great way for them to build their knowledge of the game which assists them on the pitch as players.
For the club, it is important to have a good hub of capable young referees. Cadets form an integral part of the infrastructure at Basin FC. Having cadet referees available to assist with junior competition matches means that junior competition teams get to experience a more organised, higher quality match with the rules of the game being more closely monitored and enforced. For the wider football community, Basin is contributing towards increasing the number of quality referees in the region.
Going forward, Dan is working on getting the eight current cadets ready for their level 3/level 4 courses that they are eligible to participate in once they turn 13. Dan is also hoping to recruit some girls to the cadet program for next year.