RASHID DELIGHTED WITH WORLD CUP APPOINTMENT
During November and December 2018, Birmingham County FA match official Lisa Rashid will be an assistant referee at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay, after receiving her FIFA appointment earlier this year.
Beginning on Tuesday 13 November, the tournament will consist of 16 teams drawn into four groups, with 32 matches taking place, including the final on Saturday 1 December.
Ahead of the tournament getting underway, we spoke to Lisa about her rise as a match official, the challenges she’s faced and what it takes to officiate at a major tournament.
How did you get into refereeing?
I started refereeing at the age of 14 whilst I was at school for some extra money, and I was eventually persuaded to move into adult football on a local Sunday league. When I was 18 I moved on to the West Midlands (Regional) League and started progressing up the ladder. I began refereeing in the Women’s Super League and received my FIFA Women’s Assistant Referee Badge, before becoming a Football League assistant referee in 2014.
WHAT EMOTIONS DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU WERE ANNOUNCED AS AN OFFICIAL FOR THE U-17 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP?
Having worked towards this over the last few years in particular, I was proud and excited about the opportunity given to me. My aim is to be a candidate for the senior World Cup in France next year, with this tournament forming part of the selection process for that. After the initial emotion, realisation then hit that I had to get organised and sort out child care for a month. Whilst it has been a great appointment, there is obviously some apprehension about leaving my daughter for three to four weeks.
After being notified of your appointment, what have you done to prepare for the tournament?
I need to be as fit as I can so I am at my peak when in Uruguay. We are sent a training plan each month by FIFA which has daily schedules on, whether that be agility, high intensity, recovery or speed sessions. I have also been working with a speed coach to ensure I am the fastest I can be in South America. Alongside this, I am revisiting the Laws of the Game in case there are any anomalies I am unaware of.
How have previous tournament experiences prepared you for the U-17 Women’s World Cup?
Appointments to UEFA and Women’s Super League matches have helped prepare me for the tournament. My preparation has also been enhanced by officiating at the past two Algarve Cups, which is a friendly tournament for national teams in women’s association football. We were training for two to three hours each day with workshops taking place in the afternoon. The benefit of tournaments like the Algarve Cup is that it gets you working with FIFA match officials who are potential candidates for the World Cup. This results in you building relationships with other candidates who you could potentially be working alongside in future tournaments.
What are you looking forward to most?
The feeling of playing your part in a major tournament and the feeling of being able to say that you have officiated at a World Cup. Once it starts you are focused, whilst looking forward to your first game. You have arrived, you have had your fitness check and been given your appointments – you just want to get started.
Having progressed from local Birmingham leagues, officiating senior grassroots football and now been appointed to your first World Cup, how would you describe the journey you’ve been on in recent years?
When I started, I never really imagined that I was going to be where I am now, particularly when I was a Level 4 referee officiating on the West Midlands (Regional) League. During those cold and wet nights where I took a lot of stick, I never imagined progressing to officiating at a World Cup. The journey has been amazing - it just proves that it can be done. You haven’t got to be elite to begin with - I certainly wasn’t! But the support is there now, particularly within counties, so if you want to progress opportunities are there to do so. Of course there have been times where I have walked off questioning why I’m doing this; however, I can now reflect on my journey and what I have achieved knowing that it has all been worth it.