Natasha was part of the referee team for the Youdan Trophy u14 final

Bill Shankly’s famous quote – “the harder I work, the luckier I get” – rings true with anyone who endeavours to climb up the refereeing promotion ladder; combining the hard work with first class guidance has been the key to success for up and coming referee Natasha Wilson, with the coaching team here at ‘You Are The Ref’ providing her with a high level of support over recent seasons, which has complimented her work ethic and her obvious desire to succeed.  At 25 years-old, she is at the ideal age to make strides in the game, and she has the refereeing world at her feet.

I first met Tasha at a local referee training seminar, and was instantly taken by her enthusiasm and willingness to learn.  Her sponge-like ability to take on the learning points that day, coupled with a bright and bubbly personality, were major plusses, and impressed as I was with her in a training environment, the real test comes with flag-in-hand or whistle-to-mouth.  Before I had had chance to make a considered judgement, You Are The Ref Director Keith Hackett had seen her officiate in a semi-professional game at Stocksbridge and I was delighted when he came back with a glowing report.

Natasha has been outstanding, both on and off the field, at our Sheffield based international youth tournament, the Youdan Trophy, being part of the initial refereeing team in 2015 and taking a mentoring role herself with the younger female referees who took part in 2016, officiating in the finals of both tournaments.  So, what are the key areas where we have been able to guide her development – Natasha herself illustrates why when she discusses her time at the Youdan:

“After being a part of the Youdan Tournament for the first two years, I can honestly say the amount I have learnt is incredible, not only learning from myself but also learning from other referees and then help and support from a great team of experts.  A tournament environment is an excellent way to reflect and develop and put into practice new skills and techniques. The environment is physically and mentally challenging, physically the number of games and setting high expectations of yourself to succeed means it is hard work, and mentally tough to park decisions, reflect and move on.

“Referees from around the world and varying backgrounds allow for a wide pool of experience which, when watching other referees, you pick up little ‘nuggets’ of what to do or what not to do, to try and take into your game. The team of ‘expert’ coaches allow for a watchful eye so there’s no escape, they offer valued supportive criticism of your performance to help to develop and make progress as an official,  whatever your level.”

Keith Hackett provides words of wisdom to illustrate these benefits:

“Our team of experts have opened the eyes of Natasha to a vision of what is possible with regard to her future career in refereeing. Shared experiences with referees from around the world stimulate ambition and our hands on approach guide our Academy members, through the minefield of applying the laws of the game and the management of players, builds confidence and enjoyment.  A personal “Well done” to Natasha who will now be able to call upon the expertise of Mark Clattenburg at the upcoming Youdan Trophy.”

For information and details of how you could benefit by joining us here at the You Are The Ref Academy, visit