Ed SkeatesEd is one of our two Youth Referee Managers, and alongside Dan, has run the Aldershot Youth RA meetings since joining the committee in November 2012. Ed is a Level 7 referee, quite lazy at times, and apparently looks like Harry Styles – though we can’t see it ourselves…

Why did you start refereeing?

Initially, I did it for the money – at 14 years old you realise you need money to do things, and refereeing not only offered me an opportunity to keep fit but it also gave me the chance to play football in the mornings, and referee in the afternoon. Coming to the end of my playing days at the age of 15, I had 2 knee operations and was never able to get back to my best, so I hung up my playing kit and had a permanent space available for the all black attire. Refereeing not only gave me a chance to earn money, it gave me an opportunity to develop as a man and keep involved in the sport I love: football.

What has been your refereeing highlight?

Although my career as a referee has been short yet sweet, I have had many moments that I have been proud of. However the most memorable highlight so far has to be the 2013 RA Conference at the Hinckley Hotel. On the 6th July 2013 I had the pleasure of meeting some of the greats in the business of English Officiating. From Howard Webb, the 2010 World Cup Final Referee, to Simon Breivik, who is head of Sports Science at PGMOL. During this day I was privileged to take part in workshops provided by the officials themselves. This is a momentous occasion for anybody in a refereeing career, but for me at the age of 17, it will change my refereeing lifestyle for the future.

What was the toughest situation you have been in?

The toughest situation that I have been in was in a youth (U15) Cup quarter-final derby match, with allegations coming at me from all angles of the pitch. It was a test of my character and my ability to handle a big match situation before it all boiled over. After the game I felt relieved as it meant my job was done, and I felt all the better for having done it.

What advice would you give to a newly qualified referee?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – it’s how you learn. Show confidence in yourself – even if you know you have got the decision completely wrong, if you have crisp signals, everyone will believe you. Even if you have a bad game, there are loads of people to help you. We are always at the end of a phone call, at the end of a text – we, as other referees, are here to help.

Anything else we should know about you?

I’m a huge West Ham fan, and have been for some time. I spend most of my free time in the gym when I’m not at college. And I’m not shy to admit I love demolishing the odd domino’s every now and then…

If you want to get in touch with Ed – or ask anything about Aldershot Youth RA – just drop him an email here!