GUEST BLOG: Q&A with Sian Massey-Ellis
Published 19 Sep 2018
More women than ever are getting into football. In fact the FA claims that football is now officially the biggest female team sport in England. Last season over 147,000 ladies pulled on a kit and competed in affiliated league and cup competitions – a huge jump from just 10,400 in 1993, when records started.
It’s no surprise then that strong female role models are emerging from the sport, such as, Sian Massey-Ellis, one the UK’s top referees, a regular sight on the touch lines of Premier League matches up and down the country.
As part of Prevention Week we caught up with Sian to find out about her inspiration to get involved in the sport and her top tips for incorporating exercise into your daily routine.
What attracted you to refereeing?
I’m a football fan and refereeing provides me with an amazing opportunity to get close to the action. It’s something I have always enjoyed, and even now, I get excited before games. When I was growing up it was more of a hobby, but to call it my job is something I’m extremely proud of.
There’s been a huge increase in the number of women in the sport in recent years, what effect has this had on football? And what further changes would you like to see?
It’s been great to see so many more women getting involved in sport. The success of England’s women’s football team, and the strength of the WSL has been a part of that. The more women participating in sport, the better. It’s important for young girls to have role models in the game, and I think we’re seeing that more and more of that across all sports
How do you see your career developing, will you remain in refereeing, maybe even becoming the boss?
I’m really enjoying my role as an assistant referee in the Select Group, it’s something I have worked hard to achieve. I do have goals and targets, and of course you want to be involved in the big games, but in order to do that you need to keep standards high. I was one of the assistants for the Women's Champions League Final last season which was a huge honour, and those are the kind of games you want to be involved in.
Being fit is an important part of your job, what types of exercise do you do to keep fit? (Trying to show people they don’t have to do just one thing, mixing it up is a good way to keep motivated).
We work extremely hard on our fitness throughout the season. We meet as a group every fortnight and we always get put through our paces! The actual training can vary – so it might be weight training, swimming, bike, endurance or sprints. As an assistant we have to try and keep in line with the ball, and we need to be able to keep up with play. So it’s important to vary training and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
This year Prevention Week is focusing on helping people reduce their risk, increasing the amount of exercise we do is great way to do this. What are your 3 top tips for making fitness a habit?
- It can often help to train and do exercise with a friend, that way you can motivate each other
- Making sure you vary your exercise is also good for keeping motivated, so whether it’s going for a walk, a run, on your bike, or for a swim, it’s all good for you!
- It’s also good to set targets, no matter how big or small. So if you do five minutes on the bike one day, try and do six minutes on the bike next time. You’ll be surprised at the progress you can make
What would you say to someone who thinks they are too busy to get fit? (trying to encourage people to fit in around their life, 10mins here and there are better than none)
The hardest step is often the first one, so even something small like getting off the bus one stop before you normally and walking the rest of the way can be a great start.
People joke that the referee has it easy compared to players, but how far do you run/travel in a typical match?
It can vary, but referees often run between 10 and 12 kilometres each match, so it’s important to be as fit as we can so that we can keep up with the players!