#16 Jennie Fasolino - Ruck

#16 Jennie Fasolino

#Inspire – celebrating female referee’s in rugby

Jennie Fasolino has been officiating matches for the last 15 months.

She discovered rugby thanks to her husband, Marc. His enthusiasm for the sport has been infectious and Jennie has tried touch rugby and contact rugby before recently embarking on a refereeing career.

In collaboration with our partners at ACME Whistles, we met up with Jennie to chat about going from watching rugby to getting involved in it, what motivates her and how exhilarating she has found her rugby journey so far.

Can you tell us a little about your relationship with rugby?

After many cold Saturday’s watching my husband on the pitch, not really knowing what was going on, our club started up a women’s touch team. I believe that was when my life changed for the better!

From that moment I found a passion and love for a sport I previously hadn’t known existed. I have a whole new family that I know will be my friends for life.  Since then, I have played touch every week, thrown myself into contact training, taken on fixture sec and manager roles and now trying to become the best match official I can be.

What was your first experience as a Match Official like?

Woody’s 7’s, 2022 – what a weekend! I was thrown in at the deep end but had the most amazing crew of FMO’s supporting me. It was two days of intense learning, but it set a benchmark that I am now so determined to improve from.

Tell us about your most memorable officiating moment to date.

Getting 20 minutes in the middle for a senior men’s friendly match under floodlights just a few months ago!

My coach calmly gave me pointers via comms while I tried my best to get to the breakdown and not panic. It was a thrill. I still can’t believe I did it!

Who inspired you to take up the whistle?

No one person inspired me. I have a few reasons – I wanted to improve my understanding of the laws, I wanted to give back to my club and rugby community, and I watched matches thinking ‘I could do that!’

That’s what made me sign up to the ERRA.

What motivates you to referee?

I can stay in the game, hopefully with less bruises, I still get to be part of a team, I can be a role model for other women who may see me on the pitch and I can help players and spectators better understand the game.

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 is incredibly important to me to be a visible female role model on the pitch. I want other girls and women to know that this is an option for them!

I discovered rugby in my 40’s, but if I had been lucky enough to play at school, I know I would have loved it and I feel annoyed that I missed out on so much! I want to be out there highlighting that we can do this too!

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/