Young football officials have a ball in the USA

Young football officials have a ball in the USA

14th October 2013


TWO budding referees proved to be on the ball when they were asked to officiate at a youth tournament across the Atlantic.

The students from The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham, were selected to referee in the prestigious US Cup, the fourth largest youth football tournament in the world.

Selected by North Riding County FA, 17-year-olds Tim Craig and Dane McCarrick each blew the whistle on players taking part in 21 matches in the competition staged in Minnesota.

The 12-day contest involved players from America, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and Japan with games being played in U12 to U17 categories on 50 pitches.

Players and officials stayed in the huge national sports centre with some matches broadcast live on TV.

Temperatures soared to 95 degrees C, with matches interrupted by frequent water breaks and play-time shortened to prevent exhaustion.

“In terms of our refereeing development it was a fantastic opportunity,” said Dane, of Priestfields, who hopes to reach the highest level in the game.

“When I officiated during a match involving Mexican teams, no one spoke English so I had to use my cards and facial expressions to get my rulings over.

“We didn’t get any abuse compared to over here and the teams were very strong and fit but not as technically adept as in this country. I enjoy the challenge of seeing how people react to my decisions. It becomes a battle of the minds.”

Tim, of Coulby Newham, added: “We love being part of the game and are determined to reach the top.”

Both Middlesbrough FC fans, the teenagers get the opportunity to be involved in reserve games at the Hurworth training ground. “It is amazing being able to watch the young players and see how good they are even at this stage,” said Dane.

Principal of The King’s Academy Chris Drew said: “Tim and Dane’s passion for football is easy to see and their commitment shines through to other aspects of their school life. The American trip was an incredible opportunity which has helped them grow and broadened their experience.”

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