Celebrating Female Referees during Female Football Week

Copy of FFW 2023 (3)

Female Football Week | Spotlight – Casey Flemming

Refereeing football matches has historically been a male dominated role however leading the charge for change is 22 year old Casey Flemming.

Casey took up refereeing when she was 15 having been inspired by her father Paul who refereed himself in the Illawarra Premier League before injury cut short his career. Paul is a leading Youth Referee Coach with FSC and who better to guide Casey through her early years as a referee.

Just a few short years later and Casey is now officiating at our highest local level on Men’s and Women’s First Grade Premier League matches. In fact, Casey took charge of her first Premier League Men’s game this season and all signs point to a promising referee career.

Casey has great maturity for someone so young and is not afraid to lay down the law where necessary to some of our high-profile players. Whilst still undergoing mentoring and coaching, Casey is not out of place at this level, and she serves as an inspiration to other females who may be thinking that this level is out of reach.

We caught up with Casey recently and asked her what did she love most about her role?

“I love the opportunity to learn and continue to develop personally and professionally. Refereeing has helped me develop in all aspects of my life as I have become more confident and resilient in tough situations both on and off the field. I also enjoy being involved in the game so closely and seeing some incredible individual and team achievements taking place.”

She went on to say that she encouraged all females to give refereeing a go. Her male counterparts have welcomed having Casey as part of the officiating team and have been very supportive.

It’s clear Casey is enjoying her refereeing. “There will be tough games, but there is always plenty of support and learning experiences available. Refereeing is such a rewarding role and an opportunity to earn money, build fitness, and give back to the game”.  

Casey is the only female in the local Senior Referees program, and we are proud to see her progression with her qualifications, ability, and confidence as she continues to learn the game as a match official. Who knows, we may just see Casey someday refereeing in the A-League or on an international stage.

Casey wanted to congratulate all women in football and encourage anyone interested in football to be involved! She said, “it is such an incredible community and there are so many ways you can be involved, so take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way”.

If you have been inspired by Casey’s story as a female referee and would like to seek further advice from another female, referees are welcome to contact the office and we can help connect you to Casey.

What an inspirational young lady!

Female Football Week | Spotlight – Olivia Volpato

Let’s meet 16 year old Olivia Volpato.

This young lady is packing everything she can into life at the moment. Olivia started playing when she was just five and still continues to play today. Despite having started refereeing just three years ago, Olivia has shown some strong potential earning herself a position in the FSC Youth Referee Development Program. She coached an Under 7 team last year and she can be regularly seen at Unanderra Oval helping dad with various club related tasks.

Football has clearly shaped Olivia’s life so far and she acknowledges that whilst it’s given her some life lessons, the challenges have made her stronger. Olivia has built many friendships that in her words “will last a lifetime”.

Refereeing has quickly become a passion for Olivia and she recognizes that females are a minority in this role however with the recent success of the Women’s World Cup and the growing scale of female involvement, Olivia hopes this will be translated into further growth of female referees.

Olivia believes that refereeing is a great opportunity for females to be involved in the game and get a better understanding as well as learn new skills and display their understanding of the game in a way that will benefit everyone on the field but also you as an individual.

Refereeing has allowed Olivia to build confidence, resilience, improve her communication skills and as well as so many other qualities that will not only benefit her now but will also benefit her (and others) in the future.

“It also allows you to earn some good money whilst doing something you love”, said Olivia.

Olivia also has a great desire to see more females getting involved in refereeing and her enthusiasm is infectious. We hope she too serves as an inspiration to other young girls.

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