This four-year-old girl’s response to seeing a female referee for the first time will melt your heart
Clara’s touching remark shines a light on why representation matters in sport.
Female role models at county-level football are hard to come by – and a father’s tweet about his four-year-old daughter wanting to be a referee has melted the hearts of many soccer fans.
Nuneaton Town fan Nathan Walker, who lives in West Yorkshire, took daughter Clara and nine-month-old son Rufus to an NCEL Premier Division match on October 14 to watch Garforth Town play against Hall Road Rangers when Clara spotted a female assistant referee.
Delighted by her presence, she asked her father: “Her hair is like mine, can I be a referee?”
Daughter was delighted to see this assistant referee today "her hair is like mine, can I be a referee? " - pic taken during one of the many injury breaks @TheGarforthTown @WomeninFootball @NCEL . pic.twitter.com/e87UvbxTEL— Hullablue (@hullablue) October 14, 2017
Clara, who was referring to Melissa Burgin – a 19-year-old Level Four Sheffield and Hallamshire County referee, has been to a lot of non-league football matches with her father but this was the first time she spotted a female official.
“She normally says the referees are her favourites as black is her favourite colour,” said Nathan.
“She had a great day, she loves going to the football, mainly because she gets chips, but she had to make do with a sausage sandwich as Garforth don’t do chips.”
The tweet, which has garnered more than 5,000 likes since it was posted, struck a chord among Twitter users, with one user saying, “this has warmed my heart” while another adding: “Thank you for sharing… representation is truly important!”
That's such a brilliant photo.— Garforth Town AFC (@TheGarforthTown) October 14, 2017
This has warmed my heart. Thank you so much for sharing. ❤️ @WomeninFootball— Alan (@awo86) October 14, 2017
Thank you for sharing ... representation is truly important!— Ahmed_1980 (@Nafarat100100) October 15, 2017
That is very adorable & brilliant— Dan-El (@DanielWKhan) October 15, 2017
Nathan says they will be back for more football action next week, weather permitting.
She also liked the kids meal, a pork scratching, the physio, the refs' kits and the keeper's top. We will be back next week, if it is not raining.— Hullablue (@hullablue) October 14, 2017
The world needs more inspirational youngsters like Clara.