Capital Football match officials were given the opportunity to learn from one of the top officials in the country, as FIFA and A-Leagues referee Alex King came to Canberra to deliver an education session. King shared his expertise on player management, penalty area decisions and a day in the life of a full-time referee.
A veteran of 96 A-League Men’s matches, and one of the most respected referees in Australian football, King believes that it is incredibly important for top level officials to hold education sessions with local referees, when given the opportunity.
“I’m hoping to inspire a little bit and just show and talk about our personal journeys and try and resonate with some of the younger referees, that they can go to the top of their refereeing,” King said.
“I think referee education is super important, sometimes we just sort of throw them the whistle and say have at it. I just think there is definitely a lot more we can do in this space to give these girls and boys the right tools to handle themselves in football matches. If we can show that I can do this, then anyone can do this.”
As part of his time in Canberra, King helped to run a training session, assisted by fellow A-League officials Shane Skinner and Lachlan Keevers, and while the drills are simple, King believes that they are also super effective.
“As I explained to them, players practice their set pieces, they practice their corners, they practice kicking the ball, so why don’t we practice moving around the penalty area, trying to get the angle, trying to get close, showing that we need to be dynamic and move fast around the penalty area to be in the best place to see and to make the best possible decision in the game.
“They’re simple drills but super effective. I just think if the players are practicing, we need to also practice.”
For junior referee Lachlan Li Chiang, it was great to hear from some of the top referees in the country and to learn off their experiences.
“It’s a great learning experience. You can learn from top referees in Australia and improve your own game,” Li Chiang said.
He says that session was great for him, being able to take plenty away from it and apply it to his own games, and that under the guidance of Adam Powers, it has inspired him to keep pushing for the top level.
“Heaps of things like player management, what to do in certain scenarios, and just refereeing in general,” Chiang commented.
“I’m keen to become a top referee at Adam’s level. I just have to keep working hard and take in his knowledge and what he is sharing to us.”
King also implored anyone sitting on the fence about becoming a referee to sign up, saying that it helps to grow as people and not just as referees.
“The friends that you make through refereeing, stay with you for life. When you get to do matches with your mates, you enjoy and celebrate each other’s successes, I think there’s nothing better,” he said.
“I encourage anyone to pick up a whistle because it will give you life skills that you won’t get taught elsewhere. Dealing with conflict, dealing with players, talking to men and women, I think it just helps us grow as people and not just as referees.”