Community front of mind in referee role

New Football South referee development manager Allys Clipsham at Logan Park Turf earlier this...
New Football South referee development manager Allys Clipsham at Logan Park Turf earlier this year. PHOTO: FOOTBALL SOUTH
Allys Clipsham certainly knows how to make the best of a bad situation.

Had she not broken her leg as a 14-year-old in Wales, it is unlikely she would be Football South’s new referee development manager.

Unable to play, Clipsham used her time out of the game to complete a refereeing qualification.

It proved a good way to return as well, initially.

There were running and fitness components, with no contact and risk of further injury.

She never did make it back into playing seriously, though.

Refereeing became her passion and it was one she now hoped to grow and pass on.

‘‘I just absolutely loved it,’’ Clipsham (28) said.

‘‘I didn’t really play after that, I just carried on refereeing.

‘‘I sort of really enjoyed being involved in the men’s game and the women’s game.

‘‘I knew I’d never be good enough to play in the Premier League, but I hoped I might be good enough to referee in it one day.

‘‘Things might have changed a bit in New Zealand, but there’s still a national league here which hopefully I’m part of one day.’’

Clipsham began taking refereeing seriously while living in Bangor in north Wales.

There, she rose all the way referee the Wales women’s FA Cup final.

She had been backpacking around Southeast Asia five years ago when she hit a crossroads — either go home or come to New Zealand.

New Zealand was the option she took.

Five years later she is still here.

She has since refereed two national Cup finals and was recently named New Zealand Football’s assistant referee of the year.

Earlier this year she took a role as a community development officer with Football South.

In that she primarily worked in the women’s and girls’ space, something she enjoyed.

However, refereeing has always been her biggest passion.

So when former referee development manager Lindsey Robinson moved on to do the same job at New Zealand Football, it was an opportunity Clipsham jumped at.

She hoped to continue to grow refereeing in the region, she said.

There had been significant growth in recent years, and she wanted to continue that.

The Football South region had 80 registered referees at present, about 50 of who were active.

She hoped to aim for closer to 150 active referees, as that way the federation could cover games down to 13th grade.

Providing support for new referees was a goal too, as was creating an enjoyable culture.

It was about ‘‘just sharing that knowledge’’, she said of her goals.

‘‘Really making sure everyone is enjoying everything they’re doing on the field.

‘‘Trying to make a community, have that family field to us. That’s what I’m really aiming for.

‘‘At the end of the day we are a team, just like a football team.’’


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