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IRIARTE HUNGRY FOR EXPERIENCE

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Teams play in the U8 division of the FIFA Festival for Girls at the Guam Football Association National Training Center during the event's second week. (courtesy photo)

Teams play in the U8 division of the FIFA Festival for Girls at the Guam Football Association National Training Center during the event’s second week. (courtesy photo)

PRESS RELEASE – Local soccer referee Maria Abbey Iriarte uses every opportunity she is afforded to gain the necessary experience to officiate at higher levels. On Saturdays, Iriarte officiates various matches of the FIFA Festival for Girls at the Guam Football Association National Training Center.

“I started refereeing just last year when my friends asked me to try,” Iriarte said. “I tried it out and also saw it as a way to earn some money for myself.

“Right now, I’m just trying to gain experience to get better. Maybe in a few years I can be a referee for women’s league games,” the 15-year-old added.

Iriarte officiates mostly U8 matches in the FIFA Festival for Girls and is part of the selection pool of developing referees for the upcoming Docomo Pacific Robbie Webber Youth League up to the U14 level. Particularly in the girls’ festival, Iriarte also uses her role as match referee to help teach the young players the Laws of the Game during their matches.

“One goal for the girls currently officiating at the youth level is get them at least at the assistant referee level for the women’s league next year,” said Simie Willter, GFA Referees Administrator. “Overall, though, I’d really like to see many more girls step up and try refereeing.”

Teams play in the U8 division of the FIFA Festival for Girls at the Guam Football Association National Training Center during the event's second week. (courtesy photo)

Teams play in the U8 division of the FIFA Festival for Girls at the Guam Football Association National Training Center during the event’s second week. (courtesy photo)

In addition to actively promoting the athletic development of female players between the ages of 6 and 12, the FIFA Festival for Girls also is meant to provide a platform for the development of female coaches, referees and officials, as part of FIFA’s mission for women’s football. Each match during the festival features a female referee and only in necessary cases will a male referee be assigned to matches, Willter said.

“I believe Festival for Girls is great for the overall development of women’s football in Guam,” Iriarte said. “I think it encourages more young girls to play the game and it eventually will help develop more players to train at the girls’ national team level. “We didn’t have this type of event, (particularly for the 6 to 12 year old age group) when I was growing up, but I really wish we had,” added Iriarte, who also is training with the Guam U16 women’s national team for the AFC U16 Women’s Championship in Nanjing, China next month.

For more information about the FIFA Festival for Girls or to inquire about upcoming referee courses, call the GFA Main Office at 637-4321.

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

http://www.akguam.com/ou/tamuning-scion/

Teams play in the U12 division of the FIFA Festival for Girls at the Guam Football Association National Training Center during the event's second week. (courtesy photo)

Teams play in the U12 division of the FIFA Festival for Girls at the Guam Football Association National Training Center during the event’s second week. (courtesy photo)

Erlissa Delfin (in yellow) officiates during a U10 division match of the FIFA Festival for Girls at the Guam Football Association National Training Center during the event's second week. (courtesy photo)

Erlissa Delfin (in yellow) officiates during a U10 division match of the FIFA Festival for Girls at the Guam Football Association National Training Center during the event’s second week. (courtesy photo)

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