#03 Sophie Mochrie - Ruck

#03 Sophie Mochrie

#inspire – celebrating female referee’s in rugby

Sophie has been refereeing for a year but has been involved in rugby for the last 8.

She has a lot of support from her parents, with her mum recently taking the ‘developing the developers’ course to provide additional support to Sophie in her reffing career.

In collaboration with our partners at ACME Whistles, we met up with Sophie to chat about what got her into rugby, how much she loves the rugby community and why refereeing has boosted her confidence.

Please tell us about you as a person and your relationship with rugby

I was born in the US but moved here when I was 4 and in 2013 I started playing rugby after a tag rugby tournament in school.

I moved from the boy’s team to the girl’s team 4 year’s later and am now playing for the county. I started refereeing 1 year ago in order to help my playing.

I’ve really enjoyed it so far as it’s allowed me to see the game from a different point of view and I’ve met so many new people who enjoy the game as much as I do.

I was really worried about starting refereeing in case it was filled with people who thought I didn’t belong there but instead I’ve met a group of people who have encouraged me and helped me develop my game and refereeing so far!

Please tell us about your first experience as a Match Official

I was refereeing a Chester u-14’s match. My mum was there watching but the referee who was meant to be helping me with the match was away that day.

The game started off well, except I kept getting my positioning wrong. There was some ‘banter’ being thrown between two boys which I ignored, but once the game had ended a fight broke out between the two.

I stood between them and pushed them both away for the coaches to deal with then I picked up my stuff, ran and gave my mum a big hug. All the parents came up to me and said I did a good job refereeing, but I still drowned my sorrows in cheesy chips!

Please tell us about your most memorable officiating moment to date

It was an u-15’s girl’s tournament in Lancashire and it was my first time refereeing with the Liverpool society.

It went really well – I was positioned correctly and I felt really confident. I had reffed a couple of matches and when it came to the final the other FMO with me (Allison) said that I could referee it.

I was so happy and proud of myself. It game me such a confidence boost and I felt so much happier and for the first time I really felt like my refereeing had developed.

Who inspired you to take up the whistle? How did you get started?

I started refereeing in order to develop my ability to play. Also, I really wanted to referee my old team as they had always undermined me when I played. But then I started refereeing and I really enjoyed it and I realised that I want to carry on with it and develop it into possibly a career if all goes well!

I think Sara Cox is my biggest inspiration as she was the first FMO I had seen doing the men’s matches and I though, ‘I want to be like her’.

What motivates you to referee?

I think the fact that female match officials are the future. I want to be a part of the history of rugby becoming the most inclusive game.

I also want to prove myself to the people who might’ve seen me referee and think I can’t do it and show them that actually I can and that they shouldn’t judge me just because I’m young or because I’m a woman.

In a few words please tell us what it means to you to be a positive role model and INSPIRE other women and girls to get in to refereeing

It means a lot. When I first started playing rugby, I didn’t really have any female role models to look up to in the sport because they weren’t talked about that much and if I can be that person for that one little girl in order for her to step out of her comfort zone and start playing. then I know that I’ve done what I’ve always wanted to do.

If you’re feeling inspired to take up the whistle, find out more about becoming a Match Official here: keepyourbootson.co.uk/referee-toolkit/supporting-match-officials-female/