Ambitious pair follow refereeing dreams
Tashun Simons is not a household name right now, but that does not mean he is not going to be.
The 21-year-old has just finished his first season as a football referee and now wants to see if he can reach the game's biggest stage.
Seth Taylor, the CedarBridge Academy student, has similar aspirations, and the Bermuda Football Association hope their two newest recruits can convince others to follow in their footsteps.
The BFA is running a beginners' referees course this week, and Taylor said that he thought only “fear of criticism” was preventing more people becoming officials.
“I've enjoyed it [refereeing], I've learned a lot,” the 18-year-old said.
“I wanted to be a referee because I like football and I still want to be involved in the game.
“There's nothing to be afraid about, you will get criticised, but if you can take that, why not do it?”
Simons, who played football for Young Men's Social Club, tried refereeing on a whim, discovered he liked it and has set himself a target of making the Fifa list and reaching a World Cup.
“There are a lot of people who come and ask me ‘why have you become a referee, why have you stopped playing football',” he said.
“I haven't really stopped playing football, but I think refereeing can take me a lot further in the game.”
Simons has already refereed a First Division game and been involved as an assistant referee on a number of other occasions.
Not afraid to make the big decisions, he has already taken out his red card a couple of times and awarded a penalty in only his second game as an official.
“My first game I was kind of nervous, it was an FA Cup game, but once the first ten minutes went away I got more confident with what I was doing,” he said.
“The second game was a big game between Boulevard and [Devonshire] Colts and the first ten minutes I called a penalty, and everyone let me have it, and I firmly believed it was handball.”
The reaction from players and coaches to that decision was Simons's first real introduction to the abuse that officials take on a regular basis, but he did not allow that to put him off.
“Referees get stick from everybody, and when you play you stick from players and fans, it's football, but it's just a game,” he said. “It's harder to be a referee than to play, but only because you have to implement the laws of the game.
“You have to have a thick skin, yes, but you have to understand the passion of the players too.”
A Level 5 official, the lowest rung of the ladder, Simons wants to become one of the Island's top referees and will attend the course this week as he tries to learn all he can about the role.
He has already tried to convince more of the younger generation to follow suit, and believes the only thing holding them back is “they are afraid of being cursed at”.
He said: “But if you can take that, then why not be a referee?”
Those interested in attending the BFA course are encouraged to call 295-2199, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, to secure their place.