A TEENAGE referee has returned home after taking part in an international football tournament in America.
Josh Smith, 18, of Wordsworth Grove, Bourne, was selected to take part in the Schwan’s USA cup Bourne in Blaine, Minnesota last month.
He and flew out on Wednesday, July 13, and came back home on Monday last week.
Josh, who attended Bourne Grammar School, said: “It was fantastic. It really was one hell of an experience.”
The tournament featured teams and referees from across the globe and Josh had a go the different officiating roles during the tournament.
Josh, who was born in the USA, said it was great to learn more about the game.
He said: “The best part was refereeing different styles of football and working with different teams and officials. It was brilliant.”
Josh said his highlight of the tournament was refereeing an under 15s game between the Wyoming team from America and a Mexican team.
He said: “Everyone was really excited about it and were expecting Mexico to win. But they were in for a shock as the Americans won.”
Josh was inspired to start refereeing by his dad Nigel, who is also a referee.
He now has four seasons’ experience in the United Counties League.
Josh, who has been going to games with his dad since he was young, decided he wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a professional referee.
He looks up to the Premier League officials like Howard Webb, but also to local refs like David Bryan from Stamford and Wayne Porter from Bourne.
Josh has just finished his A-levels and is hoping to go to the University of Bedfordshire to study PE teaching.
He already has plans for next summer too and said: “I am definitely going back next year. It was expensive, but worth it.”
It cost Josh more than £1,200 for the trip to America, but he was lucky enough to receive about £500 through donations.
He thanked the Bourne and District Round Table, Bourne Textiles, Burtons of Bourne, Jan and Alan Cocks and his family for helping him fund the trip.