On cloud nine

On cloud nine

Assistant referee Princess Brown relishes role in Fifa Under-17 Women's World Cup final

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

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Princess Brown has always worked hard assessing her every call with aspirations of making it big as a Fifa assistant referee.

Little did Brown know that after just nine years in the business, and four as a Fifa official, that her career-defining moment would come at the recently concluded Fifa Under-17 Women's World Cup in Uruguay.

Brown along with compatriot Stephanie-Dale Yee Sing added some Jamaican flavour to the showpiece event on the South American continent as they were selected as the assistant referees to officiate in the final between Mexico and Spain last Saturday. Spain won 2-1.

The presence of Brown and Yee Sing made them the first Caribbean officials — male or female — to feature in a World Cup final.

Canada's Marie-Soleil Beaudoin was the referee in the middle, while Chile's Maria Carvajal and New Zealand's Sarah Jones, were the fourth official and reserve assistant referee, respectively.

Even though it was not her first time on the big stage, having officiated in previous Under-17 and senior World Cup showpieces before, Brown pointed out that playing a role in a final is incomparable.

The 32-year-old, who started refereeing in 2009 and joined the Fifa ranks in 2014, revealed that she was still getting goosebumps with each recollection of the feat.

“Oh my God. It was an overwhelming and unbelievable moment. I know that we had worked very hard for this, but, wow, that was a moment. I was honoured to hear that we were doing the final and I broke down in tears because I couldn't believe that we have made it this far and our hard work has paid off.

“For me, this one was a very hard journey and to be here appointed for the U-17 Women's World Cup final in Uruguay, wow! This accomplishment has changed my life completely, both personally and also in my referee career,” Brown told the Jamaica Observer prior to departing for the airport in Uruguay on Sunday.

Like the players of both teams, stepping out on the Estadio Charrua pitch is the pinnacle for any referee, and while relishing the moment, Brown viewed it as another step up the ladder towards greater accomplishments.

Brown also had a large group of people to whom she is thankful for the respective roles they played in ensuring that this achievement became a reality.

“This opportunity will surely be an excellent platform to build on going forward to my next assessment. I am really elated, but I just want to stay focused, be humble and consistent, and put God first in everything.

“Because without God I couldn't have achieved this in my career in this short time and I also want to say a big thanks to all the instructors and assessors and my referee colleagues who are always encouraging me to go on. I want to say a big thanks to my family and to my husband Kenroy Muir, who always believed in me,” an appreciative Brown shared.

The St Elizabeth-native, in recollecting her journey, summed up what she and other referees have to endure on a monthly basis.

“It was not easy and nothing in life comes easy. At first you will feel like you want to give up but you have to find it in your heart to press towards your goal because it takes patience, persistence and a passion to reach this far.

“We have to go through a lot of training, classroom sessions, and laws of the game trivia and each month Fifa will send us to a training programme. That is what Stephanie and I have to comply with every month, and we only get one rest day in each week, so it takes a good attitude and determination,” Brown reasoned.

Brown is now hoping to use her accomplishment to motivate her peers, aspiring officials and the wider community to stand firm in their endeavours.

“In life you will meet up on a lot of roadblocks, but you have to know how to go around them. I've had my fair share of experiences, but I tell myself that I will not make a mistake like that again with my eye on my goal that is ahead of me.

“So, to those out there, never say that you can't. You are strong and you have to believe in yourself and fight to achieve that greatness. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't be strong and show them that you can make it. Reach higher because the sky has no limit,” she ended.

— Sherdon Cowan

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