The Untold Stories of Women Soccer Referees

Title: The Untold Stories of Women Soccer Referees
Authors: Reid, Kamiel
Date: 2016
Abstract: In Canada, women’s soccer has continuously grown and developed, however women continue to be under represented in non-playing roles – particularly as referees (Canadian Heritage, 2013; Canadian Soccer Association, 2013a; Ontario Soccer Association, 2012). Of the 20,507 soccer referees in Canada, only 24% are women (Canadian Soccer Association, 2013a). Moreover, 54% of Canadian soccer referees are registered in Ontario (Ontario Soccer Association, 2012), of which only 9.5% are women (Ontario Soccer Association, 2013). This study explores the experiences of women who continue to referee despite their under-representation within the refereeing domain, in an effort to identify the benefits and challenges of being a woman soccer referee in Ontario. I employed a feminist lens to guide the development and design of the research agenda, alongside Michel Foucault’s concept of the subject. The results of this exploration uncovered that the woman soccer referee subject comes to recognize and understand herself and her role as a referee through the discourse of ability and the discourse of the outsider. These discourses emerged from the ways in which the subject constructed becoming a referee, being a referee (benefits and challenges), continuing to referee, and being a woman soccer referee. Resultantly, the woman soccer referee is primarily motivated to continue to referee by her competence to perform according to the ideals and practices of “the referee” that she learns through both education and experience. However, as woman she is an outsider within the soccer community and comes to internalize her subordination and normalize sexism within the refereeing domain and soccer community at large in order to be accepted and respected within her position as “the referee”. Using the results of analysis I also make recommendations for increasing the number of women that choose to continue, as well as boost the notoriety of women soccer referees within the refereeing domain.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -