Flying the flag
FORMER Football Far North Coast referee of the year Tanya de Boer is one of only three females in Australia to receive a FIFA badge as an assistant soccer referee.
The 28-year-old is now eligible to be an assistant referee in women's international and World Cup matches.
De Boer has refereed women's state league games since 2009 and taken on assistant referee duties in the national league over summer.
"It's been a long journey and you always strive to get to that next level," de Boer said yesterday.
"The biggest thing about a FIFA badge is I can now be an assistant ref in international and World Cup games.
"I probably won't get the chance to do any until October, but I can't wait."
De Boer prides herself on her fitness and attributes her success to her love of the game.
"I train every day and started refereeing when I was 13," she said.
"I had five years off when I went overseas in 2002 but even then I was competing in triathlons instead.
"I love the game and you have to have a thick skin to be a ref.
"I work full time as well, so it definitely isn't about the money."
De Boer has played for Dunoon and Richmond Rovers and in 2008 became the first and only female to take out the FNC referee of the year award.
"That was awesome and I left to referee state league in Newcastle the year after," she said.
"I'm hoping to get on the Asian Football Confederation elite panel either next year or beyond.
"I love refereeing state league games, but at national and international level, I'm happy to be an assistant."
Football FNC general manager Steve Mackney said de Boer had been highly regarded and highly respected as a referee on the Far North Coast.
"She is extremely fit, totally dedicated and has a great temperament, totally unflappable - exactly what you would want in a referee," he said.
"It is a credit to her that she broke through the barriers as a female match official in what is traditionally a male domain."