Meet 22-year-old Will Rough, a level 7 referee and Prudential Insurance Supervisor at the Bank of England. As a referee with 18 months of experience, we asked him about his journey as a Kent referee so far.
What is your most memorable footballing moment so far?
“I would say the Kent Veterans Cup Final that I refereed earlier in the year has been my most exciting moment in football as a referee. It was probably the most people I have performed in front of.”
Why did you decide to become a referee?
“The main reason I decided to become a referee is that I found myself with a lot of time during Covid and decided that when lockdown was over, I would make myself more productive. Refereeing is a great way to do this because I enjoy football and still want to play my part, just not as a player.”
How do you find the time to referee alongside other commitments?
“Fortunately, I am lucky enough to work from home, which helps me pick up mid-week fixtures. On the weekends, you just need to be proactive and manage your time accordingly.”
How has your refereeing complimented your day job?
“Refereeing has helped me deal with pressure. The pressure you feel on the pitch is similar to the pressure I might feel when delivering a presentation or working to a tight deadline. It also compliments work as it’s a great distraction to take my mind off work when it is getting a bit stressful.”
What do you enjoy the most about refereeing?
“For me, the main thing is just being a part of a game of football. As a referee, you are closer to the action, so it’s enjoyable to see the game from that perspective.”
What challenges have you faced in your refereeing career, and how have you overcome these?
“The biggest challenge is being able to pick yourself up after you’ve had a bad game. I’ve had plenty of these as I am still learning and getting yourself back to full confidence is always difficult. I think the best way to deal with this is to not dwell on mistakes for too long. You’ll just end up eating yourself up over small things. I always try to learn from my mistake and reset before the next game.”
What techniques have you developed to deal with and manage conflict/difficult situations?
“I think the key one for me here is patience. Taking the extra second to consider what has just happened and then make the decision is a real-life saver.
In terms of a technique to develop this, I think it’s all about practice. You should always trust your instinct but do consider giving yourself the extra second.”
What advice would you give any young person considering taking up the whistle?
“100% go for it. You have nothing to lose. If you find yourself with some spare time and still want to be a part of a game of football, then refereeing is perfect. If you want to keep fit and hate the gym, pick up the whistle. It’s a great way to develop some other life skills!”
If you are interested in becoming a referee, check out our Get Into Refereeing workshops: