Future star referees head for Keighley

Pictured are Joe Starkie, Jamie Rhodes, Joe Goodwin, Matt Sowerby, Bobby Madley.

The next generation of match officials are coming to Keighley.
What promises to be a packed audience at the November meeting of the Keighley and District Referees’ Association will be hearing a presentation by members of the West Riding County FA’s Referees School of Excellence.
The evening is open to all and invitations are being sent to referees’ societies across the county, as well as the Keighley FA, Craven League and Craven, Aire & Wharfe Junior League, etc.
Eight members of the School of Excellence were sent to tournaments abroad, with a view to assisting in the developing of young and promising referees, both in refereeing terms and in giving them life-changing personal skills.
Joe Goodwin (Barkston Ash), Matt Sowerby (Harrogate), Jamie Rhodes (Wakefield) and Joe Starkie (Leeds) refereed at the Iber Cup in Lisbon, accompanied by David Fuller (Referees’ Committee Chairman) and Bobby Madley (a Football League referee and Referee Development officer at the West Riding FA).
The group will be giving a presentation about their experiences on Thursday, November 15, 7.45pm, in the clubhouse at Silsden AFC’s Angel Telecom Stadium, Keighley Road, Silsden.
The evening is open to anyone involved in local football in whatever capacity, not just referees.
A pie and pea supper (and vegetarian option) will be provided by Silsden at a nominal price.
The young referees are Joe Goodwin, a 22-year-old Level 4 official who is in the middle at West Yorkshire League games.
He qualified in 2006 while still playing but took up the whistle alone after getting the bug for it.
Highlights of his career have been lining in a professional game in a friendly at Barnsley, refereeing and lining in various district, county and league cup finals and, probably most of all, refereeing at the National Stadium in Lisbon, where they hold their FA Cup final and where Celtic beat Inter Milan in the 1967 European Cup Final.
Twenty-year-old Jamie Rhodes, is also a Level 4 official from the West Yorkshire League.
He started refereeing in 2006 instead of getting a paper round and fell in love with the role.
The highlight of his career was being selected as an assistant to the u13 final at the Iber Cup in Portugal’s National Stadium.
Matt Sowerby, 22, is another Level 4 West Yorkshire League ref.
He started refereeing after watching a Champions League semi-final at Elland Road and his dad asked him what he thought about being a referee, paid to run around with the world’s best players.
He passed the course in 2004 but had to wait four years to move into open age. He has refereed a school game at Elland Road and the Iber Cup u15 semi-final between Paris St Germain and FC Porto.
Joe Starkie is only 19 but already a Level 5 official in the West Yorkshire and Yorkshire Amateur Leagues.
He qualified as a referee when he was 14.
“The football team I was playing for at the time folded and, instead of looking for another club, I did the referee’s course,” he said.
“I progressed to open age football when I was 16 and this is when my enjoyment for refereeing turned into a passion.
“It was a tremendous honour to be representing WRCFA in an international football tournament and is without a doubt the highlight of my career to date.”

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