The significant role community umpires play in our great game will be highlighted this weekend, as AFL Victoria and the wider football community pause to celebrate 2018 Community Umpiring Week.
Held from May 4 – 6, the annual event is designed to recognise those patrolling the boundary, manning the goal line and controlling the action out in the middle each week, and the contribution they play in our game.
In Victoria alone, there are more than 7,000 registered umpires at community level, along with thousands of club-based umpires, who commit their time and energy to allow those chasing the Sherrin the chance to do so safely.
To celebrate the occasion, a host of AFL Umpires will forgo their usual training session and instead disband and travel to several community umpiring groups across Victoria to engage with local members and facilitate training sessions.
These opportunities are highly valued by local umpiring groups where their members are provided with an extended chance to engage with members of the elite AFL umpiring panel.
In addition, a number of young developing community umpires will head to IKON Park to develop their skills and knowledge of the game in a special coaching session under the guidance of some of the game’s national umpiring coaches.
AFL Head Umpire Coach Hayden Kennedy will lead the event and take the fortunate umpires through their paces in an on-field training session and provide an insight to how AFL Umpires are coached.
Furthermore, in all Round 7 AFL games, a host of local community umpires will meet the appointed AFL umpires prior to the game and have the chance to walk with them out on to the ground.
Community Umpiring Week is also another opportunity to encourage those who want to be involved in the greatest game in the world to take up umpiring.
Across Victoria, huge efforts are being made to attract umpires from all walks of life, with the development of Diversity Umpire Academies and Female Umpiring Academies growing from strength to strength.
If you are new to the game, or your playing days are over, then umpiring is a great way to contribute to community football.
Regardless of your age, gender, culture or ability, anyone can get involved in umpiring and enjoy the many benefits the roles provide.
Not only do you get the best view of the action, but it helps keep you fit, be part of a team and learn leadership skills that you can take with you when you walk off the ground.
For details on how you can become an umpire, CLICK HERE or simply visit http://www.umpireafl.info/