A teenage referee from Hawera who took up the whistle to help out his First Kicks football team has been named the 2023 McDonalds Community Referee of the Year.
Josh Hobman (19) has received the accolade for his efforts to develop as a referee at many levels of football within the Central Football region.
Receiving the award, Hobman told NZ Football’s website:
“At the age of 13, I started to coach a First Kicks football team, and so started my football refereeing journey.
“From taking the whistle for First Kicks, I progressed to running the line with my mum for my dad’s premier grade football team when an AR (assistant referee) wasn’t appointed.
“At the age of 14, mum encouraged me to actually sit my level 1 referee’s badge and she sat it with me. From there, I was officially appointed to AR Taranaki Premier Grade football matches, and then was officially appointed to my first match in the middle at age 15 (Taranaki Women’s grade), through to now officiating at Taranaki Cup finals.
“In October, I also went over to officiate at the National U-19 tournament in Napier.
“In between doing official refereeing duties, I play football and also volunteered my time to referee local junior and youth teams; 9th grade through to 15th grade, which I do this nearly every Saturday morning and also refereeing interschool football for local schools.”