17-year-old referee scoops top award

By James Richardson

A local football referee has expressed his surprise after he was presented with a prestigious award despite only qualifying as an official a year ago.

17-year-old Matty Young was crowned the Senior Referee of the Year at the Hull Boys Sunday Football League AGM after being nominated by the East Riding County FA.

The Driffield School & Sixth Form pupil said he was completely in the dark as to why he had been invited to attend the league’s AGM on Monday 23rd May: “I received an invite in the post telling me to attend the AGM in the Kingston Suite at the KC Stadium.

“When I arrived, I thought what are we doing here because they didn’t say why I had been invited and there were lots of managers who I recognised having refereed their teams. It felt strange because I had a shirt and tie on and everyone else was in their normal clothes,” said Matty.

“To then receive the Senior Referee of the Year award was a complete surprise especially as it’s the first year I’ve been refereeing,”

Matty says the award has boosted his confidence ahead of his debut season officiating in the senior football ranks. “This season I refereed under 11s up to under 15s and I’ll be moving to men’s football next season.

“I’m looking forward to it but I wanted to build up my experience first rather than rush straight into things as I was only 16 when I started.”

The decision to qualify as a referee was taken by Matty after he blew the whistle on his playing career. “Before I became a referee I was playing under 18s football but it was just dying out. However, I still wanted to stay involved in the game,” explained Matty.

“I thought why not go and ref and make a bit of money at the same time. I miss playing but I don’t regret stopping.

“My brother’s a referee as well and he’s been doing it longer than me so he was also quite shocked that I’d won the award.”

With all Premier League officials now professional, the sky’s the limit for young referees like Matty. However, at the moment he’s unsure how far he would like to take his refereeing.

“I’m not really sure how far I would like to take it as to begin with I was just doing it to earn a bit of extra money on a weekend but I’ve discovered that I’m actually pretty good at it.

“I’ll definitely be sticking at it though, I’m only 17. Like I said I was 16 when I started so in another 10 years or so you never know where I might be,”

Matty explained. “I’m currently doing my AS exams and with any luck next year I’ll pass my A-Levels and go to university.

“Hopefully this won’t impact my refereeing. It’s something I’ve been thinking about and I can always register with the nearest FA.”

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