Former Hampshire FA Referee Makes Debut in the Australian A-League
Over 10 years on from moving to Melbourne, aged 16, former Hampshire FA referee, Jack Morgan, has worked his way up the ranks to referee in the top tier of Australian football (soccer).
On Saturday 5th June 2021, former Hampshire FA referee, Jack Morgan, made his refereeing debut in the Australian A-League, refereeing the Central Cost Mariners v Western United FC at the Central Coast Stadium. Hampshire FA caught up with Jack after his debut to discuss his refereeing journey.
Jack got into refereeing as a secondary school student at The Mountbatten School, Romsey when a PE teacher encouraged him to take the FA Referee Course hoping it might stop Jack from giving referees such a hard time when he was on the pitch playing.
From taking the course, Jack soon found himself getting involved in the world of refereeing. Jack told us, “I did my course over a number of evenings and then had my six-game probationary period. I was lucky to become a member of Southampton RA, and later also Eastleigh RA. This gave me the opportunity to meet Albert Astbury who got me involved down at Southampton Academy refereeing some of their junior matches. Starting on the small-sided football I worked my way up the age groups as a referee and assistant referee gaining great experience and receiving great coaching.”
“The idea was to referee for a bit of extra pocket money and I quickly realised it beat working at the local supermarket.”
At the age of 16, Jack moved to Melbourne, Australia with his family. He continued to referee and the skills he had learned throughout his development in the UK quickly impressed.
“Through being watched and coached by various people I was lucky to be selected into the National Talent Pool of referees, similar to FA CORE. Through this, I was given opportunities to attend national championships and referee on the National Youth League where I gained more experience, exposure, and coaching.”
At the age of just 20, Jack earned himself promotion to the National Premier League (second highest division of football in Australia), where he continued to learn, develop and impress as a referee.
The next milestone in Jack’s refereeing journey came four seasons ago when he was promoted to the 4th Officials Panel for the A-league (highest division of football in Australia). He would then gain experience working within the officiating teams for country’s highest standard of domestic football, while continue to ply his trade as a referee in the National Premier League.
After four seasons of hard work and patience on the 4th Official’s Panel, Jack finally received his refereeing debut in the A-League on Saturday 5th June 2021. His match at the Central Coast Stadium saw the Central Coast Mariners victorious over Western United FC 2-0. Jack explained that life as an A-League referee is “exceptionally normal”. He said: “My preparation was very similar to any other match; the only difference being that before this match I had to get a COVID test and isolate after that. The game was in Sydney, so I flew up on the morning of the match and met my 4th official who drove us up to the Central Coast which is about 90 minutes north of Sydney. We arrive at the stadium 2 hours before kick-off and then it's into the normal pre-match routine.”
“My goal now is to cement myself as a referee in the A League. I want to gain the respect of my colleagues and the players as a referee over the next season or two.”
All at Hampshire FA offer our congratulations and extend our best wishes to Jack as he continues on his amazing refereeing journey.
We asked Jack what advice he would offer any new or potential referees, starting out their refereeing journey, just as he did in Hampshire over a decade ago. Jack said: “Do it! Refereeing has brought so much into my life. It has given me skills that have allowed me to be successful in other areas of life as well as on the football pitch. You never know where refereeing can take you, from meeting new people at a local match to refereeing internationally and everything in between.”
If you’re interested in getting into refereeing visit our Get into Refereeing website page or email Andy.Moisey@HampshireFA.com
Photo Credit - Football Victoria