North East Wales Referee’s Association © 2018                            Website designed and maintained by H G Web Designs
North East Wales Referees’ Association

Referee Profiles

Focus on FIFA Referee: Bryn Markham-Jones When I began my refereeing career some 12 years ago, in no way did I expect to reach the heights I have reached. As many do, I only had the intentions of refereeing junior football in an attempt to earn a little pocket money on a Saturday morning. Thankfully, a senior referee was able to convince me to ‘run the line’ for him one Saturday afternoon and I never looked back. From there, I became more involved in senior football and eventually began refereeing senior football matches. My senior refereeing career progressed at a quick rate. It began in the Welsh National League (Wrexham area) reserve division at the age of 17 and by the age of 22, I found myself refereeing in the Welsh Premier League. With the right levels of commitment, performances and attitude it is possible to reach the heights of the Welsh Premier League and beyond in good time. Refereeing on the Welsh Premier League proved to be a good test for me at the age of 22. The league has a lot of experienced footballers and managers present in it and I had to mature as a referee very quickly. It took me a good two years to find my feet in the league and from there I was looking forward to the next challenge – becoming a FIFA referee. Any referee’s dream. During this period of development I was very fortunate to referee many matches outside of the Welsh Premier League. On two occasions I travelled to Northern Ireland to referee on their Premier League; I travelled to Scotland and refereed at Hampden Park as part of an exchange program with the Scottish FA; I also travelled to Malta where I took charge of one of their Premier League matches and in addition to these I refereed numerous Wales U16’s, U17’s and U19’s matches, some of which were aired lived on Sky Sports. Additionally, I travelled away on UEFA matches as 4th official. This just goes to show if you are not lucky enough to reach FIFA standards, you can still enjoy fantastic experiences as a referee in Wales. February 2012 was a significant date as part of my push to become a FIFA referee. This is when I attended the Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE), which is run by UEFA at their headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The CORE program has been designed to introduce prospective future FIFA referees to the standards and expectations placed upon them by UEFA. The program ran for 6 months and challenged me in a variety of ways, such as fitness assessments, decision making assessments, self-analysis of my refereeing performances and many more. Thankfully, I was successful in achieving a diploma in refereeing from UEFA in August 2012. One afternoon in December 2012 I received the phone call I was hoping for. A phone call from the then referees’ manager, Rodger Gifford, informing me that I had been selected to become a FIFA referee for 2013 at the age of 26. Words cannot describe how proud I felt but I knew the hard work had only just started. In January 2013 I travelled to Rome for the FIFA referees introductory course. None other than Pierluigi Collina headed the course. It was here I realised how big of an achievement it was to become a FIFA referee. Being a FIFA referee has provided me with life experiences that I’d never have experienced had it not been for refereeing. The people I have met, the places I have visited and the events I have witnessed. I travelled to some of the most obscure but amazing places imaginable. Up to now, I have visited a total of 21 different countries thanks to refereeing. Some examples include Faroe Islands, Iceland, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Estonia. Had it not been for refereeing I am confident I would never have visited these countries. Hopefully, in the near future I will be able to visit more countries around the world. My proudest achievement thus far as a FIFA referee was in November 2013. It was at this time that I travelled to the Czech Republic to officiate my 1st ever A international friendly. The Czech Republic are very well respected in international football so to have the opportunity to referee them was quite amazing. What made the event extra special was the fact that none other than Petr Cech captained the Czech Republic. At the time he was considered one of the best footballers in the world. When I was stood in the tunnel just about to lead the two teams out, I had to pinch myself to check it was real, a referee from Wrexham leading out one of the most famous footballers at the time. Unbelievable. At no point in my refereeing career did I ever expect to reach the heights of an international referee. Never did I expect that refereeing would be the reason I reduced my working hours to 50%. Never did I expect that I’d travel the whole of Europe. But, it has happened and it all thanks to refereeing. I will not be a FIFA referee forever. Wales will need FIFA referees in the future and there is no reason why it cannot by you. Somebody has got to do it. It may seem a long way away but with the correct attributes then it is certainly possible. I am proof of that.
Focus on FIFA Referee: Cheryl Foster International playing career - I represented Wales at youth level, gaining caps at U16, U18 and U21 level. However I made my senior international debut in 1997 at 17 years old, coming on as a substitute against Ireland. I represented Wales 63 times, competing in World Cup and Euro qualifiers over a 15 year period. I had the privilege of captaining my country on my 50th Cap against Slovenia in Llanelli and in 2009 I became the all-time record appearance holder for 2 years. The highlight of my international career was playing for Wales against Germany in front of 20,000 spectators. Club playing career - At club level I started my career playing football for a local boys team called Conwy Devils before signing for Bangor City Ladies at the age of 15 winning the Welsh Cup twice which allowed me to taste European football at club level of the first time and the league twice. In the summer of 2003, I signed for Liverpool Ladies winning the league and getting promotion to the National Division in my first season. I continued to play for Liverpool for a further 9 years which included playing in the Women’s Super League scoring the very first goal in the opening game of the season against Everton Ladies. I then moved onto Doncaster Bells in my last season (2013) as a player before taking the Laws of the Game course in the North East Wales referees association. Moving to refereeing and becoming a FIFA referee - I always thought I would be a coach or manager when I retired from playing; it was always a passion of mine to stay in the game. When I stopped playing in 2013 a conversation I had with Cliff Evans back when I was playing for Wales in Switzerland returned to me. He asked over lunch one day would any of us be interested in refereeing when we finished playing. I hadn’t then but the more I thought about what I wanted to do, the more I felt I could make a contribution and it would give me that chance to be get back on the pitch! But I didn’t think things would move so fast that I’d be a UEFA referee by my third season and it has been a steep learning curve and an amazing challenge. Once I took part in the Laws of the Game course and completed it in November 2013. I started refereeing in the Flintshire junior leagues and my first men’s game was assisting at Saltney Town in January 2014. Since the course I have been part of the NEWRA mentoring programme as well at the development team which I have benefited from immensely. The opportunities for future female referees is huge and the possibilities of what I could achieve as a referee were explained to me very quickly at the start and within three seasons I have achieved what I set out to do, become a FIFA referee. To do this, I have attended every possible meeting and seminar that I could. I ask a lot of questions and find the answers to the very strange but possible scenarios that could occur during a football match. I have lent heavily on my experience as a player but when I referee or assist I take at least one thing from every game into the next one to try and improve. Another aspect I think is really important especially refereeing in the men’s league and FIFA games is a referee’s fitness level. As a former forward my fitness requirements changed and I work hard in the gym to meet these new demands. I now have the fitness levels of a box to box midfielder ensuring that I am there when a player looks round for a decision or non-decision.
North East Wales Referee’s Association © 2018                            Website designed and maintained by H G Web Designs
North East Wales Referee’s Association

Referee Profiles

Focus on FIFA Referee: Bryn Markham-Jones When I began my refereeing career some 12 years ago, in no way did I expect to reach the heights I have reached. As many do, I only had the intentions of refereeing junior football in an attempt to earn a little pocket money on a Saturday morning. Thankfully, a senior referee was able to convince me to ‘run the line’ for him one Saturday afternoon and I never looked back. From there, I became more involved in senior football and eventually began refereeing senior football matches. My senior refereeing career progressed at a quick rate. It began in the Welsh National League (Wrexham area) reserve division at the age of 17 and by the age of 22, I found myself refereeing in the Welsh Premier League. With the right levels of commitment, performances and attitude it is possible to reach the heights of the Welsh Premier League and beyond in good time. Refereeing on the Welsh Premier League proved to be a good test for me at the age of 22. The league has a lot of experienced footballers and managers present in it and I had to mature as a referee very quickly. It took me a good two years to find my feet in the league and from there I was looking forward to the next challenge – becoming a FIFA referee. Any referee’s dream. During this period of development I was very fortunate to referee many matches outside of the Welsh Premier League. On two occasions I travelled to Northern Ireland to referee on their Premier League; I travelled to Scotland and refereed at Hampden Park as part of an exchange program with the Scottish FA; I also travelled to Malta where I took charge of one of their Premier League matches and in addition to these I refereed numerous Wales U16’s, U17’s and U19’s matches, some of which were aired lived on Sky Sports. Additionally, I travelled away on UEFA matches as 4th official. This just goes to show if you are not lucky enough to reach FIFA standards, you can still enjoy fantastic experiences as a referee in Wales. February 2012 was a significant date as part of my push to become a FIFA referee. This is when I attended the Centre of Refereeing Excellence (CORE), which is run by UEFA at their headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. The CORE program has been designed to introduce prospective future FIFA referees to the standards and expectations placed upon them by UEFA. The program ran for 6 months and challenged me in a variety of ways, such as fitness assessments, decision making assessments, self-analysis of my refereeing performances and many more. Thankfully, I was successful in achieving a diploma in refereeing from UEFA in August 2012. One afternoon in December 2012 I received the phone call I was hoping for. A phone call from the then referees’ manager, Rodger Gifford, informing me that I had been selected to become a FIFA referee for 2013 at the age of 26. Words cannot describe how proud I felt but I knew the hard work had only just started. In January 2013 I travelled to Rome for the FIFA referees introductory course. None other than Pierluigi Collina headed the course. It was here I realised how big of an achievement it was to become a FIFA referee. Being a FIFA referee has provided me with life experiences that I’d never have experienced had it not been for refereeing. The people I have met, the places I have visited and the events I have witnessed. I travelled to some of the most obscure but amazing places imaginable. Up to now, I have visited a total of 21 different countries thanks to refereeing. Some examples include Faroe Islands, Iceland, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Estonia. Had it not been for refereeing I am confident I would never have visited these countries. Hopefully, in the near future I will be able to visit more countries around the world. My proudest achievement thus far as a FIFA referee was in November 2013. It was at this time that I travelled to the Czech Republic to officiate my 1st ever A international friendly. The Czech Republic are very well respected in international football so to have the opportunity to referee them was quite amazing. What made the event extra special was the fact that none other than Petr Cech captained the Czech Republic. At the time he was considered one of the best footballers in the world. When I was stood in the tunnel just about to lead the two teams out, I had to pinch myself to check it was real, a referee from Wrexham leading out one of the most famous footballers at the time. Unbelievable. At no point in my refereeing career did I ever expect to reach the heights of an international referee. Never did I expect that refereeing would be the reason I reduced my working hours to 50%. Never did I expect that I’d travel the whole of Europe. But, it has happened and it all thanks to refereeing. I will not be a FIFA referee forever. Wales will need FIFA referees in the future and there is no reason why it cannot by you. Somebody has got to do it. It may seem a long way away but with the correct attributes then it is certainly possible. I am proof of that.
Focus on FIFA Referee: Cheryl Foster International playing career - I represented Wales at youth level, gaining caps at U16, U18 and U21 level. However I made my senior international debut in 1997 at 17 years old, coming on as a substitute against Ireland. I represented Wales 63 times, competing in World Cup and Euro qualifiers over a 15 year period. I had the privilege of captaining my country on my 50th Cap against Slovenia in Llanelli and in 2009 I became the all-time record appearance holder for 2 years. The highlight of my international career was playing for Wales against Germany in front of 20,000 spectators. Club playing career - At club level I started my career playing football for a local boys team called Conwy Devils before signing for Bangor City Ladies at the age of 15 winning the Welsh Cup twice which allowed me to taste European football at club level of the first time and the league twice. In the summer of 2003, I signed for Liverpool Ladies winning the league and getting promotion to the National Division in my first season. I continued to play for Liverpool for a further 9 years which included playing in the Women’s Super League scoring the very first goal in the opening game of the season against Everton Ladies. I then moved onto Doncaster Bells in my last season (2013) as a player before taking the Laws of the Game course in the North East Wales referees association. Moving to refereeing and becoming a FIFA referee - I always thought I would be a coach or manager when I retired from playing; it was always a passion of mine to stay in the game. When I stopped playing in 2013 a conversation I had with Cliff Evans back when I was playing for Wales in Switzerland returned to me. He asked over lunch one day would any of us be interested in refereeing when we finished playing. I hadn’t then but the more I thought about what I wanted to do, the more I felt I could make a contribution and it would give me that chance to be get back on the pitch! But I didn’t think things would move so fast that I’d be a UEFA referee by my third season and it has been a steep learning curve and an amazing challenge. Once I took part in the Laws of the Game course and completed it in November 2013. I started refereeing in the Flintshire junior leagues and my first men’s game was assisting at Saltney Town in January 2014. Since the course I have been part of the NEWRA mentoring programme as well at the development team which I have benefited from immensely. The opportunities for future female referees is huge and the possibilities of what I could achieve as a referee were explained to me very quickly at the start and within three seasons I have achieved what I set out to do, become a FIFA referee. To do this, I have attended every possible meeting and seminar that I could. I ask a lot of questions and find the answers to the very strange but possible scenarios that could occur during a football match. I have lent heavily on my experience as a player but when I referee or assist I take at least one thing from every game into the next one to try and improve. Another aspect I think is really important especially refereeing in the men’s league and FIFA games is a referee’s fitness level. As a former forward my fitness requirements changed and I work hard in the gym to meet these new demands. I now have the fitness levels of a box to box midfielder ensuring that I am there when a player looks round for a decision or non-decision.