Local lady ref makes it to FIFA international panel
(CIFA): Wendy Fisher, an IT-Administrative Personnel with the Cayman Islands Government currently attached to the Department of Vehicles and Licensing attained her FIFA badge on 1 January and is now a FIFA International Assistant Referee representing the Cayman Islands. Being the baby sister of the then football icon Winston Hurlston, Wendy at the age of ten was always at the Annex on Saturdays and Sundays to watch her brother and mentor play football. “I admired his skills," Wendy says. "His knowledge of the game drew me to the sport. It was at that age that my dream of being in the football world began.
“I attended the former Cayman Islands High School, now John Gray High School, and that is where my football interest and skills developed. I was encouraged by my brother to join the Yobbo Rangers woman football team," she added.
Wendy recalled that the club at the time was coached by her brother and Jocelyn Morgan. She also played for the George Town Sports Club woman team and represented the Cayman Islands playing for the national women’s team on numerous occasions.
Wendy has had a wealth of experience and exposure playing at the national and international level. She was granted a football scholarship and played the sport in Pulaski, Tennessee, USA. She was called the petite right midfielder of her college team.
Travelling from state to state and studying, she recalled: "I’ve gained a lot of knowledge on and off the field of play."
After a long halt and embarking on family life, three kids later, Wendy decided to change her call from a player and answered the call to becoming one of Cayman’s female referees. "One day, I was sitting at my desk at work, and I saw an advertisement where the Cayman Islands Referee Association were recruiting new members. I made note of the dates and times of the sessions and attended every session. I was determined to return to the sport that I loved so dearly."
In 2010, she was successful in passing the theory exam. She acknowledges the encouragement of Alfredo Whittaker and Livingston Bailey to focus on her training and development.
Wendy is known for her swift movement on the touchline, where she served as one of Cayman's best female assistant referees. She cherishes the fact that she has been serving the Association as an assistant referee from the time of her qualifying.
Alfredo Whittaker highlighted the fact that Wendy has participated in three Referee Assistance Program Courses (RAP) conducted by FIFA Referee Instructor, Peter Prendergast. The RAP program is designed to professionalized and enhance referees’ skills to better manage their games in the 209 FIFA member associations. Wendy constantly reminds herself of these words carefully spoken by Prendergast at her first RAP fitness test; "The race is not for the swift, but for those who can endure it. I cherished those words on a daily basis and have used them as a motivating factor to never give up."
She said passing the FIFA fitness test to be accepted on the international list was not an easy task. However, her success came through hard work, dedication and commitment to intense training. She said, “I thank God that I was able to make personal sacrifices towards my family life and training, which made me successful in my endeavor. As a result, I was accepted by FIFA as an assistant referee to the 2013 FIFA International List of Referees representing the Cayman Islands.
“I am very proud of Wendy’s achievement. Her commitment and determination to achieving her objective has paid off. CIFA referees' technical instructors took very keen interest in her growth and development for the last two years, and we are quite confident that she will do well on the international circuit," said Livingston Bailey, Chairman of the CIFA Referee Committee.
Wendy said, “I’m most grateful to my family and my referee colleagues who supported me, especially Carline Reid-Willis, Christopher Stewart and Swason Owen who are also international referees representing the Cayman Islands. Through their help and motivation, I stand as a proud Caymanian ready to launch my international refereeing career through-out the world. I am encouraging young Caymanian women to get involved in the refereeing program locally and aim to advance their career at the international stage. The sport is growing, not just for men but women as well, so grab hold of the opportunities now and enjoy the success later."
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