World Cup official Darren Cann was a surprise guest at a meeting of the Suffolk County FA Youth Referees’ Academy.
The Premier League assistant referee, who recently returned from Brazil where he was one of three English match officials, called in on the meeting at Sporting 87 FC in Bury St Edmunds.
Despite a hectic schedule, Cann found time to join the young referees and shared some of his experiences.
He also had with him the medals he won at the previous World Cup, where he officiated in the final, and his Champions League final medal.
Also talking about their experiences were AJ Dale, Callum Walchester and George Laflin, who are all former members of the academy, which is sponsored by Globex Freight Management Ltd.
During the evening those attending had an opportunity not only to learn but to ask questions and receive first-hand information from people who understand all the pressures, concerns and aspirations of young referees.
They also had the opportunity to meet most of the referee coaches who will be at the academy during the season and Heather Trevers, the youth referees’ academy administrator.
One of the members of the youth referees’ academy, Dion Thorpe, said: “The evening demonstrated a pathway for academy referees to progress through the system to officiate at the higher levels and it was pleasing to see AJ, George and Callum in attendance who have all followed this path.
“It was clear that it requires hard work and dedication but the support structure provided by the county aids this progress.
“Overall, a very informative evening and each person in attendance would have taken something from it to aid their refereeing.”
Anyone wishing to join the youth referees’ academy should contact either of the head coaches, Trevor Pollard via email@example.com or Jon White via firstname.lastname@example.org.