Former ESFA referee Ben Abraham was recently named as a member of the A-League referee panel for the upcoming 2019/20 season.
ESFA's Referees Coordinator, recently caught up with Ben who himself held the ESFA Referees Coordinator role in 2010/2011, to congratulate him on his appointment and to see what advice he would give younger referees who are looking to advance.
“My main advice is to enjoy the refereeing experience both on and off the field.” Ben said.
“I started refereeing at 16 together with a good mate, Brendan Koehler, which meant not only could we have some fun and a laugh we could also push each other to improve and become better referees at the same time. As a young referee if you can join with a friend I believe you'll find a lot more enjoyment and motivation to stick with it.”
Ben began refereeing with ESFA and also joined the NSW State League Referee Branch where he would be appointed to Football NSW competitions. The first season saw Ben referee one day each weekend in ESFA competitions and the other day in Football NSW competitions.
After five seasons refereeing in the National Premier League (NPL) competition, Ben was selected as an A-League fourth official for the 2017/18 season. With another two NPL seasons, including refereeing the 2019 NPL Grand Final as well as being awarded the 2019 NPL Men's Referee of The Year award, all his hard work and perseverance has seen him selected as a referee for the upcoming A-League season.
“As with anything, whether you are a Player or a Coach, being a Referee is no different. To reach the highest level you need to be committed to your trade”, Ben said. “Having said that, whilst it is a long pathway to achieve your goals it isn't a one horse race. Surround yourself with mates, watch other referees, listen to and learn from your coaches and this will go a long way."
There is a refereeing pathway, very similar to ESFA player pathways, where a local referee can start with an ESFA program and progress all the way to the A-League or W-League. The same as players, it is hard work and commitment on and off the field that will help a referee reach the highest level of football.
If you wish to know more about the referee pathways and follow Ben's footsteps, please contact our Referees Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org