My name is Sara Bremsak and I am in Grade 12 at Saint Thomas Aquinas Secondary. I plan to study health sciences and then continue my studies to become an optometrist.
I started playing soccer when I was 4 years old. My family then moved to Europe and soccer was not considered a sport for girls. I stopped playing soccer and played competitive tennis instead. I started playing soccer with the NSGSC in Grade 6. I played for house teams for 3 years, then I moved to a silver team for one year and I am currently in my third year playing for the Gold team called the Pegasus.
I have been a referee for the last 4 years. I started as a small sided referee in Grade 9 and then moved to full field in Grade 10.
I wanted to be a referee to step outside of my comfort zone, to have a job in a field I knew well and make some money.
The best part of being a referee has been learning important life skills such as communication, responsibility, decisiveness, and confidence. I have been able to transfer these skills to my school life, other jobs, and my daily life. It is also nice to be able to earn your own money and set your own schedule.
The hardest part of being a referee is learning to focus on multiple things at once for at least one and a half hours. It takes effort and experience to be decisive and calm at the same time. Dealing with overly aggressive coaches when they are not happy with the Referee’s decisions and with players when they get physically aggressive with the other team can also be intimidating. I would also have to say that braving cold and rainy weather can be a challenge to overcome as well.
I would tell them that referees are just people and they are trying to do their best to keep the game we all love fair and safe. The players might make many mistakes during the game and not get yelled at, but a referee may make one and somehow be held responsible for the team's loss.
I started playing indoor soccer at the age of four so I have been playing for give-or-take 12 years now.
I saw it as a good opportunity to boost my confidence level at a young age and it was a great way to meet new people and learn from those I met along the way. I actually met one of my really good friends by becoming a ref and now we are playing together on the same team so that is really cool that we get to connect not just during refereeing but outside of that too.
I would say that the best part of being a referee is again getting to meet new people and learn from those people that you encounter along the way. Also, you get to feel like you are in charge of something and you have a greater responsibility than you would if you were just being a normal player. Also getting a better understanding of the game that you are playing is a good opportunity as well because I found after I became a ref you really get a good look at what refs put up with when everyone is yelling and doubting their calls. If I had to say my top number 1 favorite thing would probably be being supported by everyone around you. Everyone is there to help you and it is like you are entering into a little second family of people that will always be there to listen and guide you through any problems that you are having.
Probably just that our main job is keeping the players safe and we really do try to do that, whether you see it clear as day or not that is our number one job. We want them to have fun but at the same time safety is a priority.