Jerome Damon was match official at two FIFA World Cups
Date Published: 04 May 2011 written by Christine van Deventer
Jerome Damon, who was the highest qualified referee at the 2011 Metropolitan under-19 Premier Cup, started his career as a football referee here at the Bayhill tournament in 1991.
This educator from Bridgetown High in Athlone progressed through the ranks as referee, moving on to running the line at the PSL from 1996 to 1999, then refereeing in the Premier League from 2000 onwards and being 4th Official at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
The highlight of his career, of course, was when he represented South Africa as referee at the 2010 FIFA World Cup on home ground. He says that it was indeed a special moment for him, but at the same time a daunting challenge to know that he was representing his country at such a world-class event where the eyes of the world are fixed on you.
However, he did enjoy every moment and learnt a lot in terms of refereeing. He got to see the good and the bad side as he witnessed the team of referees for the match between Mexico and Argentina being sent home for making a bad call, and costing a team the opportunity to progress in the tournament.
This brought him to the point of how high the pressure is on referees. This is especially the case at a tournament such as the Metropolitan under-19 Premier Cup where the focus is on the development of the players. He says that when players are on the field their only goal is to beat their opponents, and the referees understand this. So, as judges, they have a fine balancing act to play in order to promote development and at the same time maintain discipline on the field.
When asked about the way in which the Metropolitan under-19 Premier Cup has contributed to his skills as a referee, Damon points out that under-19 football is very fast, with not a lot of tactical build-up and play. Therefore it helps him to sharpen his skills because of the fast pace. He says that these players do all the tricks they see on television which requires alertness on the part of the referee.
Mr Jerome Damon wants to see young people progress and refereeing at the tournament is his way of giving back to the community for the role they've played in shaping his own career and allowing him to take it as far as he has.