A-League on the horizon for determined football official
The 2012 Queensland Times-City of Ipswich Sports Awards will recognise the best regional talent at a gala function on Saturday night. In the latest series on the award contenders, Jay Buchan previews the finalists for the Official of the Year honour.
MATTHEW Skinner chose refereeing over playing football due to the greater opportunities it afforded.
The 27-year-old Brassall-based engineer has been a referee for five years.
He started while living in Townsville, having discovered his future prospects as a referee were better than as a player.
"There were a lot more avenues to progress," Skinner said.
"In a close-knit community as a player if you're in, you're in.
"If you're not, you're not.
"You needed someone to break an ankle to get a gig."
So Skinner followed his love of refereeing and found the further he went, the harder it got.
"At lower levels it is a lot cruisier (than as a player)," he said.
"At the top level it is equal.
"It's just as hard in terms of training and commitment."
Skinner is approaching the top level in Australia.
He is on the list of A-League under-23 referees and his next goal is to crack the senior A-League.
It is something he hopes to achieve in the next two years.
If and when he gets there it will be a career highlight.
So far the highlight of his career was being invited to referee at the Dallas Cup in the US this year.
"National and international club sides get together there for two weeks," he said.
"To referee a quarter final there was probably the best I was going to get at that stage."
The low light is whenever he is called upon to give a penalty in the dying moments of a match.
"Giving a penalty in the 90th minute is not so flash," he said.
When that occurs, Skinner said he just tries to treat it as though it were any other stage of the match.
To reach the next phase of his progression Skinner said his focus was on maintaining his consistency at whatever level he was coaching and "hope the right person is there to notice."