Lincolnshire Referee Reaches Huge Milestone
Lincolnshire referee Mark Wordsworth recently took charge of his 1,000th game - a massive milestone in his officiating career.
Mark, 46, is a Level 4 FA Referee at Steps 5 & 6 in the football pyramid and took charge of his first game on Sunday 5th November 2017 for the Messingham Juniors vs Bottesford. His recent 1,000th game saw him referee the EC Surfacing Challenge Cup Final between Barnetby United and Scotter United.
Speaking about his first ever game, Mark said: “After weeks of resistance, I gave in to a request by one of the coaches at Messingham and picked up the whistle...I loved every minute of it and I have not looked back since!”
A standout period for Mark was between 2nd May 2021 and 1st May 2022 – which saw him officiate 317 fixtures!
During his time as a referee so far; he’s been awarded Lincolnshire FA Grassroots Match Official of the Year 2020/21, Scunthorpe RA Referee of the Year 2021/22, Scunthorpe Sunday League Referee of the Season 2020/21, and EC Surfacing Scunthorpe Saturday League Referee of the Season 2019/20.
“1,000 games is a personal milestone that I felt was achievable after my first couple of seasons. I feel really pleased and proud of myself with what I have achieved so far, and I am so looking forward to continuing moving forward!” Mark told us.
“I just love the game, and this allows me to be part of a wider community, and to play a huge role in ensuring the players enjoy their match day experience.”
“I am proud and fortunate to have represented Lincolnshire FA for the last 5 years, not only in local football and County Cup appointments but also on FA duties such as the FA Vase, FA Trophy and FA Cup. I feel there is a positive momentum in local refereeing, and I love being part of the initiative of encouraging others through the 'Coach / Mentor' development programme. Not only in spreading good practices but also retaining referees in Lincolnshire.”
Despite recent media reports of referees leaving the game, Mark highly encourages others to pick up the whistle and make the step into refereeing.
“Refereeing is one way of being involved in the beautiful game by giving something back. After several years as a football coach, refereeing offered me an increased participation in sport. Refereeing is not only about yourself, but also about working with others and making new and lasting friendships.”
“I encouraged my son to referee since he was fourteen. I consider it a privilege when we officiate together as part of the team of three. I particularly enjoy running the line for Luke as I get to watch him develop his skills.”
Mark began as a Level 7 Match Official, and over time has been promoted up to Level 4.
“Lincolnshire FA have been great in supporting me since I reached out to enrol on the Referees course. I have been made to feel part of the wider community and when I first picked up the whistle, I thought I was maybe too old! The encourage from the development team has allowed me to understand that there are no restrictions, if you want to make things happen.”
“When I first heard of the refereeing pathway, I wasn't sure if it was for me - but through the support of Lincs FA and other referees, I have progressed season on season to reach a standard, at one point, I didn't think was possible.”
“It is my opportunity to be the best I can be and support others too!”
Lincolnshire FA congratulates Mark on this huge achievement and look forward to celebrating the next big milestone with him.
For more information on how you can take your first steps into refereeing, click below: