The official's profiles below are part of an annual series the Lethbridge Sport Council is doing to say 'Thank You' to the dedicated officials that are a key component of quality sport in Lethbridge. We can't thank them enough for all they do, and we hope you'll join us in saying thank you. We encourage you to check out our Facebook and Instagram for their profiles and extend your own thanks to them!
Jane has been officiating since 2014 and is an official for the Southern Alberta High School Rugby League. In the upcoming year she aspires to work in senior men’s and women’s rugby. To reach this goal she is currently pursuing training opportunities in New Zealand to hone her skills as an official. Jane was initially drawn to officiating as a player in Fort Macleod, AB within Rugby Alberta, as athletes were required to participate in level one referee training to have a better understanding of the game. She then became a member of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns rugby program, until she was faced with a head injury that forced her to stop playing. From this she chose to pursue officiating to stay involved with rugby. Jane enjoys officiating youth rugby players the most. Specifically, she enjoys explaining rules to young athletes and helping them learn the rules of the game. Related to this, the most rewarding part of officiating for Jane is being an active participant in athletes’ development and rule knowledge as she has a front row seat to watch them improve. As Jane is actively involved in watching athletes excel at rugby, one of her favorite officiating memories is watching a youth female player score a drop goal. One challenge of officiating that Jane noted is that in southern Alberta there are not enough referees to have linespersons for every game, so as the sole referee your job is to see the entire field. Jane is passionate about developing as an official, and her advice to up-and-coming officials is to focus on their communication skills with players throughout the game so that they too can understand the rules.
Micheal is currently a FIFA
international assistant soccer referee for Canada. He has been an official for
24 years and began when he was twelve years old in Coaldale, AB. As a youth,
officiating was something he could fit into his school schedule while making
some extra money; however, as he began to dedicate more time to officiating, he
found it more enjoyable and decided to pursue officiating at a higher level. Micheal
showed promise while officiating in the County of Lethbridge and was given
several opportunities to officiate higher levels in Lethbridge such as men’s
and women’s leagues, provincial leagues like the Alberta Major Soccer League
(AMSL), the Alberta College Athletic Conference (ACAC), and USport soccer.
Micheal credits much of his current international officiating success to the
opportunities he was given in Lethbridge to develop and grow as an official. As
a current international soccer official, Micheal’s favourite part of officiating
at this level is experiencing the passion and drive of players who are
representing their country. Specifically, he described one of his favourite officiating memories as witnessing a packed stadium in Mexico during the
Concacaf Champions League final. The most rewarding part of officiating for
Micheal is the opportunity to be part of an officiating family, as working
internationally in places such as France, Brazil, and Qatar have given him the
chance to meet officials from across the world. For Micheal, the most
challenging part of officiating is to get the right decision in a split second
from one viewpoint, while there are multiple different cameras analyzing the
call. As someone that grew up in a small town and is now a professional
official, Micheal’s advice to up-and-coming officials is to control the
controllables and put in the hard work for whatever you are passionate about.
Micheal Barwegen is on the left in the above photograph
Carley is currently a level three hockey official, where she began her officiating career in Manitoba at 14 by officiating basketball, volleyball, and hockey. Although she officiated all three sports, she took more of an interest in officiating hockey as she was also a dedicated hockey player. In 2015, she moved to Edmonton to play for the MacEwan University Griffins women’s hockey team, where she took a break from officiating to focus on her education and playing hockey. Upon the completion of her time as a player in 2020, Carley started officiating again as she began to pursue her Master’s of Science at the University of Lethbridge. She was drawn back to officiating by her love of the game. As a graduate student with a busy schedule, she knew that to stay involved in the game she loved she would have to take on a role different from playing or coaching. Currently, Carley’s highest level of officiating is female USport and ACAC; a level that she once participated in as a player. Carley’s favorite part about officiating at this level is watching the female game continue to develop and expand since she has retired from playing. Carley’s favorite memory from officiating to date is working her first USport game this year. She mentioned that stepping back onto the ice at the university level in a different role was a unique experience that she is very grateful for. The most rewarding part of officiating for Carley is that although she is not playing anymore, she can continue to improve and challenge herself as an official at a high level. In contrast, the most challenging part of officiating for Carley is making split second decisions to get the call right. Hockey is a fast game and requires sharp focus; however, Carley said that when you do get the right call in a close call situation it is a very rewarding feeling. As an official who is constantly looking to improve her game, Carley offered some advice to up and coming officials. She stressed the importance of taking every opportunity to receive feedback from officials that work higher levels or have been around longer. Most learning as an official comes from in-game experience, and so when offered advice from officials who have lots of games under their belt it is important to listen closely to their suggestions.
Rhys has been an official for Southern Alberta Basketball Officials Association (SABOA) since 2014, and he currently officiates high school (ASAA), Alberta College Athletics Association (ACAC) and USport. Rhys was originally drawn to officiating from his love for the game. Although he did not make his high school basketball team, he aspired to stay involved with basketball and began officiating. Rhys emphasized that during his early years of officiating several mentors positively influenced his experience as an official which encouraged him to continue officiating. Rhys commended the wealth of basketball talent in southern Alberta and expressed how impressed he is with the talent and passion displayed by players, coaches, fans and officials. He expressed that he feels privileged to be a part of a “world-class” basketball community right here in Lethbridge, as his best officiating memories come from meeting many talented individuals through officiating, especially since he has had the opportunity to represent Lethbridge at tournaments across Canada. As a dedicated official, the most rewarding part of officiating for Rhys is to mentor other officials. His experiences with supportive mentors during his time as an official have carved a path for him to develop as a leader and to pass on his officiating knowledge to novice officials. Rhys mentioned that the most challenging part of officiating for him is to reset after a difficult possession or game, and to help with this, he finds having a clear mindset useful. Relatedly from a mentorship standpoint, Rhys stressed the importance of respect and patience for up-and-coming officials. These two words serve as a mantra for him, and he highlighted the importance of respecting all game participants and being patient with yourself, players, coaches, and other officials. This patience will play a role each day as officials can improve their skills and make incremental improvements towards holistic development.