Imogen Sweeney

Referee Spotlight - Imogen Sweeney

Our referee spotlight to round off the 2022/23 season.

It may be the end of the season, but we can still shine the spotlight on another incredible Kent referee.

We caught up with Imogen Sweeney, a level 7 Kent-affiliated referee who balances life as a police officer with refereeing in the Crawley. Imogen started her career as a match official last year and is relatively new to refereeing, so let’s find out more about her journey.

What made you start refereeing?

“I started refereeing after an invitation was sent to me about three years ago while playing for Newhaven Ladies. I initially dismissed it; however, the following year, I thought as an older player, it would be a great way to still be involved in the game.”

What do you enjoy about refereeing?

“I enjoy being a referee because I am still involved in football. I enjoy being able to exercise by refereeing and getting paid for it. Being involved in women’s football is exciting since the Lionesses won the Euros.”

What difficulties/obstacles have you experienced as a referee?

“I am mainly interested in refereeing girls' and women’s football. But this means I have fewer opportunities to develop as I have yet to find a women’s league that will accept me to referee their games. I am hopeful there may be one in Surrey that I can find as I would like to go for promotion and recognise this will involve refereeing adult games. I mainly referee girls’ youth games at the minute. They are in a county league, though, and the standard of football is good, which I enjoy being a part of.”

What have been the highlights of your officiating career so far?

There are a few! My highlights were being picked to be part of the FA’s Emerging Talent Programme for women’s refereeing. I was then selected to attend St George’s Park as an assistant referee for a U15 girls' England game. I have also been picked to participate in this year’s Kent County Cup. Whilst at a complimentary dinner in Aylesbury, where the draw was made, I sat at the same table as Duwayne Brooks, a referee. Duwayne Brooks was present when Steven Lawrence was murdered in 1993. As a police officer, being in his company felt like a very profound moment, and I found him very inspiring.

If you could give potential new referees some advice, what would it be?

“Don’t give up and persevere!”

Great advice Imogen. We look forward to supporting Imogen on her journey.

If you are interested in becoming a referee, check out our Get Into Refereeing page.

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