State honour for Sharp

Well deserved: Referee Appointments Officer Branch Executive of Latrobe Valley Referees Group Andrew Riess congratulates local soccer legend Adam Sharp on his life membership to Football Victoria. photograph liam durkin


LOCAL soccer identity Adam Sharp was recently inducted as a life member of Football Victoria.
Sharp was bestowed with the honour at Football Victoria’s annual meeting, where his services to the game were officially enshrined for generations to come.
The Morwell resident has spent more than four decades as a referee, not only officiating but also developing and assisting those coming up through the ranks.
Such length of service has seen him chalk up more than 700 matches, rubbing shoulders with countless number of Latrobe Valley Soccer League players, coaches and staff.
If you have played in the LVSL in the last 30 years, there is a good chance Sharp has been your referee.
The man himself said he was thankful to soccer for the journey it had provided him.
“I am very honoured, you get a lot of enjoyment out of refereeing,” he said.
“Refereeing is a way of giving something back.”
Sharp was brought to the Latrobe Valley in 1987 through his work as a teacher, continuing a refereeing career that started five years earlier.
Prior to taking up the whistle, he played soccer in Melbourne and Bendigo, making appearances for Golden City and Prahran Slavia.
Over the years Sharp said there has been no shortage of highlights, with the progression of a number of local referees to greater levels and the days of the Morwell Falcons playing in the National Soccer League standing out.
“It was very exciting, I remember these stands (at Latrobe City Sports and Entertainment Stadium) full of 5000 people, it was brilliant,” he said of Falcons’ NSL games.
“I wasn’t refereeing in the centre at that stage, I was doing some lines and mainly Premier League.
“Several of the A-League referees I’ve mentored one way or another.
“We’ve been lucky enough to have two women referees from the branch who have gone onto women’s A-League in Catherine Hoffman and Jasmine Steger.
“The standard of refereeing here (in Latrobe), some of it is as high as anywhere in Melbourne.”
Sharp retired from refereeing six years ago, but is still contributing to the discipline through coaching, continuing in a role he has served since 2002.
A particularly noteworthy initiative Sharp introduced was the ‘Green Shirt Program’ for learning referees.

Kudos: Adam Sharp has given great service to the sport of soccer at a variety of levels. photograph liam durkin

Sharp said it was gratifying to know the soccer community was becoming more aware of how important referees were to the game.
“We have to give credit to Football Victoria, the resourcing has improved out of sight,” he said.
“Football Victoria has not only resourced more referees they’ve given us better training, what they have done has made sure everybody is on the same page – all of Victoria, the training materials are very consistent.
“Without referees there is no game – and without good referees there is no good game.”
In terms of his own refereeing style, Sharp said it was a matter for others to evaluate, although he did provide a few insights into how he has gone about his business.
“A good referee allows the game to flow, takes sanctions when they should and most importantly, a good referee manages people,” he said.
“Cards are there only when you need them. I don’t believe that you use cards to control, you use other means.
“It can be hard which is why all referees are thankful for the support they get because it is lonely in the middle sometimes.
“You can only please half the team, half the time and half the spectators.
“Professionalism, integrity and teamwork are so important in refereeing, we have each other’s back and the idea is that we develop a standard.”
Sharp was nominated for the life membership by Latrobe Valley Referees Group Referees Appointment Officer Branch Executive Andrew Riess.
“All the work he has put in developing younger referees in our region, but also statewide, I thought he deserved that recognition for all the work he has put in,” Riess said.
“When I first started I had a number of coaches and Adam was one of them, he helped me develop into the referee I am today, and probably the person I am today as well.”
Possessing a calm demeanour which has undoubtedly allowed him to thrive as a referee, Sharp joked others told him he needed to “get a bit angry” over the years.
Nevertheless, when asked what makes a good referee, Sharp said a number of vital factors would always hold true.
“What makes a good referee is respect for the game, understanding the stakeholders, that is the players, the club, the spectators, and knowing what is expected from them as well as the ability to sell a decision. The idea of selling a decision is to do with positioning and fitness, to be able to be there to be able to sell it.
“A good referee is one that isn’t noticed – same in any sport. You are there to facilitate a really good game, you are not there to take over.”
Sharp said he would love to see more people take up refereeing.
If you are interested in becoming a referee visit or phone Adam Riess on 0422 024 288.