For the first time ever, the Swedish Football Association, in collaboration with Kiwa Inspecta, has handed out the award “Young Judge of the Year”. 19-year-old Jennifer Björnler from Umeå is one of the winners, and she is convinced that the Gothia Cup is one of the reasons she was chosen for the award.
“To be a referee at Gothia Cup was very rewarding,” says Jennifer Björnler.
It was the first time that Jennifer Björnler was a referee during the Gothia Cup, but as a football player, she has taken part of the tournament for as long as she can remember.
– Even if I haven’t played every year I’ve come to the cup and watched the games. I love Gothia Cup. It’s so awesome, a fantastic experience. So my expectations were high coming there to be a referee, and it truly was amazing, says Jennifer.
During the week the 19-year-old from Umeå underwent step two of the Swedish Football Association’s training for referees. That included theory lectures, but mostly a lot of referee work. As part of Celebrate The Game, she, along with her colleagues, received feedback from referee observers during the week.
– We did three games a day. And before each game we prepared in our team of three. During the game we had observers who watched how we worked, and after the games we watched them on video together and got feedback. That was where you learned the most. To referee, get an evaluation and then referee again. It was an extremely developing experience, explains Jennifer who refereed in grades B16, B18 and Gothia Trophy G17.
What’s so special about being a referee at Gothia cup?
– Gothia Cup has a special atmosphere. It feels like you enter abubble and live in it for a few days, it’s so awesome. And the coolest thing I think is that you can be a referee for teams from other countries, that’s so great. It’s awesome that you can actually understand each other through football, and find that respect.
What are the biggest challenges as a referee at Gothia Cup?
– It’s probably the language. We underwent an English course at the beginning of the week. But a lot can be said with body language, it is a language that everyone understands.
What was the most fun?
– To meet so many new people. From players and coaches to the referees who gathered at the training. Everyone was very ambitious and wanted to develop their referee skills. It was very rewarding. And the observers were so insightful and talented. It was all the meetings that were funniest.
“Sweden’s next prominent female judge”
At the beginning of November, Jennifer Björnler received the award Young Judge of the Year 2018 by the Swedish Football Association and the control company Kiwa Inspecta, together with Sebastian Johansson from Skåne. They were awarded a scholarship of SEK 15,000 each after meeting the criteria of “being young, having a good physical ability, and being able to act as a leader in a manner characterized by courage, dedication and motivation.” Jennifer, who did not know that the prize existed, was shocked when she got the call.
– But in a positive way! I was so thrilled.
In the motivation for the award, Jennifer is described in big words such as “outstanding”, “role model” and “may well be Sweden’s next prominent female judge”. Words that according to the prize winner almost feel a little exaggerated.
– There were so many superlatives, it was insane. I’m very flattered, it’s extremely fun to hear those things and get praise for your hard work. I’m very grateful, says Jennifer, and then expresses her gratitude to Gothia Cup.
– That I underwent step two of the training for referees during Gothia Cup is what made me receive award. It is what made me both secure in my work as a referee and improved my skills, but also that I got the chance to referee in higher levels.
– I live in the northern of Sweden, and there are not many people coming to see me work as a referee. So Gothia Cup really had an important role in this great experience.
This post is also available in: Svenska