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FOUNDATION OF LIGHT
SOCIAL MEDIA

7 hours ago

NEWS: @SunderlandAFC and #FoundationofLight are supporting the @KnowTheScoreUK campaign to raise awareness of Bowel… https://t.co/IqEBhU5lmZ

9 hours ago

SPORTS: Follow in the footsteps of @Cristiano, @JHenderson, Lionel #Messi and @neymarjr in the hunt for #WorldCup g… https://t.co/tHWfYSUUir

13 hours ago

WELL DONE to our friends at @Esh_Group who have been recognised by the Queen for their outstanding work in supporti… https://t.co/hA1Lw8ahzc

13 hours ago

Next time you're in the area Graham let us know, we'd love to give you a tour! https://t.co/1gNegh3yR9

13 hours ago

We are PROUD to support the @FA's #GirlsFootballWeek by engaging hundreds of youngsters in exciting coaching sessio… https://t.co/UKqdk1xvdH

13 hours ago

CONGRATULATIONS to Sport Development Officer @Cazza7, who completed the #LondonMarathon yesterday! 🏅 https://t.co/jv4oAaCZ1A

Apr 22

That’s great! Hope it went well! https://t.co/SqwArhZ9H8

Apr 22

@Tanni_GT Our Sports Development Officer @Cazza7 is running, number 8274! #GetInspired #LondonMarathon

Apr 22

Best of luck to our Sport Development Officer @Cazza7 who is running the #LondonMarathon today! #GetInspired https://t.co/GfimUmuwdu

Apr 21

RT @SunderlandRTC: Well Done Girls 👏🏻 Both Squads showing character #DevelopPeopleDevelopPlayers As nearly 100years collective of players t…

Apr 21

Today winning #GrandinYourHand Lottery number is 2️⃣6️⃣2️⃣7️⃣! If you have that number, you’re £1,000 richer! #SAFC https://t.co/LDgXTZjcE5

Apr 21

RT @PLCommunities: One 👏 Year 👏 On 👏 A big thank you to everyone who has played a part in an extraordinary first year of #PLPrimaryStars.…

Apr 21

RT @SunderlandRTC: Final League game for U14&U16 Squads as we travel away to @ManCityWomen RTC 🚎👊🏻⚽️ Hopefully the ☀️ will stay out

Apr 21

RT @SunderlandAFC: 📸📸📸 He shoots... and scores! https://t.co/A5jVD8s2fX

Apr 21

RT @SunderlandAFC: ⏰ HALF TIME: #SAFC head into the break in the lead thanks to Paddy McNair's 34th minute strike... #HawayTheLads https:…

Apr 21

RT @SunderlandAFC: 34' #SAFC take the lead... McNair slams the ball home! https://t.co/G2VeoHptht

Apr 21

RT @SunderlandAFC: Chris Coleman has made 3⃣to #SAFC's starting XI ahead of this afternoon's game v @burtonalbionfc... https://t.co/u0Iy1Oe…

Apr 21

The ☀️ is out and so are our lottery sellers giving you the chance to #WIN a #GrandinYourHand at today’s game! Look… https://t.co/glWYtcw0VN

Apr 20

HUGE THANKS to #SAFC players Duncan Watmore, Lee Camp and club legend Kevin Ball who attended our #MakingMoves coa… https://t.co/RLzEHq9Z2K

Apr 20

RT @SRTRC_England: Congratulations to prize winner Jack from Whitburn School who was lucky enough to meet @Ethan_robson8 and @tybrowning as…

Helen appointed FIFA Assistant Referee

8 January 2018

Foundation of Light’s Helen Byrne is celebrating after joining a select group of officials on the FIFA Women’s Assistant Referee List for 2018.

Helen, the Foundation’s Premier League Primary Stars Events Coordinator, was nominated by The FA for her hard work and dedication in developing as a match official and high-level displays both at home and abroad.

The former Everton Ladies youngster, who started refereeing as a teenager to earn some extra pocket money, has officiated over 1,000 matches from the English Football League to tournaments in the United States.

“I was 14 and never really thought about refereeing,” she says. “I was playing football for Everton at the time and one of my team-mates was doing her referee course and asked if I would go with her.

“I thought it would be good to do something different in football other than playing.

“My first game was an under 10 girls’ county match in Liverpool. I was so nervous about doing the game and giving decisions. I made quite a few mistakes but it was all a learning curve and by continuing to learn from them has made be a better referee.”

After studying towards her coaching badges and gaining a (BA Hons) Degree in Sports Development, Helen became the youngest female referee to reach Level 3 and has officiated in some of the most important matches in English football.

She adds: “The biggest I’ve been involved in would have to be as assistant referee in the 2017 FA Women’s Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in front of 35,000 people.

“In the men’s it would be the League 2 play-off semi-final second leg between Luton Town and Blackpool which was broadcast live on Sky Sports because of what was riding on the game for both teams.”

Female referees and assistants officiating men’s football is becoming more frequent, with the number of international referees increasing from 26 in 1995 to 350, with 440 assistant referees up from 31 in the same period according to www.youaretheref.com.

Helen says: “We are a minority but there are so many more females becoming referees and progressing through the system which is great. I have had so much support and encouragement from everyone who I have come across within football.

“It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, you just want to be seen as a referee and go and do the best job you can.”

In October last year, Helen received her first nomination to the FIFA Women’s Assistant Referee List, joining Natalie Aspinall, Sian Massey and Lisa Rashid as England’s representatives on the international stage.

Being nominated to the FIFA List was unbelievable and what I’ve worked really hard for. I will be officiating around the world on international games from under 17 to senior level.

I have been lucky enough to be part of a number of games in countries such as America, Denmark, Sweden and Bosnia, which has given me a lot of experience already.

Looking forward my ambition is to officiate at a major FIFA Tournament such as the Women’s World Cup and would love to be promoted to the EFL Select 2 Group List for Championship games.

Helen Byrne, Foundation of Light Premier League Primary Stars Events Coordinator

On and off the field, Helen is a role model and inspiration for the women’s game, both as a referee and at Foundation of Light where she encourages more girls to get involved in football through school programmes, tournaments, workshops and festivals.

Helen says: “Working for the Foundation of Light I can have a real influence on how women and girls get involved with the game which is very rewarding.

“We have an incredibly comprehensive programme which incorporates everything from football-based exercise classes and sessions for those trying football for the first time, through to coaching, officiating and our Girls’ Scholarship programme, which gives talented female players the opportunity to study for A levels whilst representing Sunderland AFC in a national league.

“There has never been a better time for women and girls to get involved in football, there are so many routes and careers available now, and I would encourage anyone thinking of giving the sport a try to do so.”

For more information on the Foundation’s Premier League Girls programme, contact helen.byrne@foundationoflight.co.uk or call 0191 5515309.

Latest Tweet

NEWS: @SunderlandAFC and #FoundationofLight are supporting the @KnowTheScoreUK campaign to raise awareness of Bowel… https://t.co/IqEBhU5lmZ


about 7 hours ago