By Sal Saba
Youdan Trophy took centre stage at the start of August in Sheffield with an array of clubs from all over the world descending on the city to compete in the oldest football competition in the world. A tournament re-born three years ago, the Youdan brand has grown rapidly since then and can now consider itself the biggest youth tournament in the UK, if not the world.
As part of the increasing expansion of Youdan Trophy, which has recently begun hosting tours across the UK, a Development Tournament was played out over the weekend of 19th-20th August which gave a chance to referees to officiate games as well as gain a taste of the kind of mentoring available to You Are The Ref Academy members.
Indeed one referee in particular, Lewis Quayle, was so thrilled with the advice and guidance he received across the weekend, he joined the Academy the following day to get hold of the same support on a daily basis.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the day and benefited from expert coaching on each and every game from a variety of coaches, all with backgrounds in the professional game,” said Quayle.
“I have taken a lot away from the tournament in terms of a positive experience but also in terms of continued expert advice. I now have an opportunity for ongoing support to provide me with expert coaching to assist with my progression in football.
“Having experienced first-hand the support available from You Are The Ref, I immediately joined their academy and look forward to their continued support and guidance.”
Back in 2015, it was You Are The Ref director Jock Waugh who decided to bring the competition back, in affiliation with YATR, as a platform for referees to officiate at a level they had never been afforded before.
It was a tremendous success and with the likes of Mark Halsey, Glenn Turner, Rob Harris, Roger Dilkes, Guy Beale and others being able pass on their knowledge via one to one training, it gave those referees involved a training camp experience they most likely will not have received ever before.
Former FIFA and Premier League referee Mark Halsey, who attended both tournaments, was full of praise for those involved and invited referees to join the Academy.
“What we offer, in my opinion, you can’t get elsewhere. We’ve got some quality referee coaches who are here to assist and support referees looking to develop in the game,” he said.
“This year’s tournaments have once again been a great success, not only for the footballers, but for the match officials taking part.
“We’re making the Youdan Trophy a competition clubs want to enter because they know they will get the very best refereeing, something a lot of clubs won’t ever have had before.”
Forty teams took part in the 2017 Youdan Trophy, with thirty-four referees attending this year. Travelling from as far as the United Arab Emirates to as close as Ireland, the selection was as diverse as it could be. To be considered to officiate and benefit from this unique opportunity at next year’s tournament’s, become part of the You Are The Ref Academy today by signing up at academy.you-are-the-ref.com.