Female soccer referee kicks-off

AFTER earning the mantle of Holland's best triathlete, Tanya de Boer has returned to Lismore and is making a name for herself with the whistle.

The 25-year-old human resources worker has been nominated for an assistant referee position in the national women's soccer league set to kick off this year.

The nomination comes after de Boer impressed a panel of six assessors and the national referees' manager while umpiring at the Australia Under-17 championships last month.

In a performance that won her the senior line position in the championship decider, de Boer also won a spot at the Australian school's championships later this year.

“I'm pretty stoked,” she said.

“I'm just excited and ready to go.

“I'm definitely heading towards my goals of getting up there with refereeing.”

De Boer began umpiring as a teenager growing up in Lismore Heights, but gave it away for a few years to pursue a career in triathlon.

“I started refereeing when I was 13 and started doing triathlons when I was 14,” she said.

“When I was 18 I had to decide which I wanted to do: I went overseas to focus on triathlons and was on the Dutch professional team.

“I won the 2005 Dutch Championship and was the Under-23 champion for three years as well as racing in world cups and European Championships.

“I got to a stage where if I wanted to get up into the world class, I had to do it 24/7.

“I had achieved all the goals I wanted to achieve and thought it was time to stop and come back to Australia where I started refereeing again.”

De Boer's athleticism, competitive spirit and drive have seen her become the only female officiating in Football Far North Coast Premier League.

Her ability to control the region's elite male competitors has earned praise from officials.

FFNC president Matt Kelso said de Boer was handed the Northern Premiers Cup final earlier this year because she had proven herself at the top level.

“She certainly has the credentials to be a top referee,” he said.

“She's got a good rapport with players and this might sound a little sexist, but the players seem to show her more respect than they show the men.

“She is earmarked as having a lot of potential. She is very professional. I think she has a good presence on the field. She's a good role model for other female referees.

“In a fairly strong male bastion, it's good to see a young female with Tanya's ability.”

But de Boer said the local boys were quite well-behaved.

“I enjoy the game and want to give the players a clean and fair go,” she said.

“Generally they (men players) have been quite accepting.

“You get a bit of frustration out there but on the whole it's been pretty good.

“I have had constant, solid support from the referees' association and I wouldn't have been able to achieve this level of refereeing without that support.”

If her national women's league nomination is approved, de Boer will be controlling the country's best players and taking another step towards her goal.

“I want to get as far up as possible ... work towards getting international games but I have to see if it's a realistic goal,” she said.

“It depends on your FIFA badge as well.

“here's only a limited amount of badges but if you can get it you can pretty much go all over the world.”

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