In 2009, the WRFL and AFL partnered to start the first Umpiring Academy in an effort to bring more youth into the game. Mackillop College is where this started, and in 2014 Mackillop Umpiring Academy provided over 50 junior umpires to the WRFL ranks, ensuring the many junior games were provided with umpires when they would otherwise not be. Read More
In 2009 the WRFL, in conjunction with the AFL, launched the very first AFL Umpires Academy, run out of Mackillop Catholic College in Werribee, Victoria. After more than 6 years in operations, the number of umpires coming into the system at the school has tripled, with over 100 field, boundary and goal umpires joining the umpiring ranks through this channel.
The Academies are a perfect place for young boys and girl to learn their craft. Staffed by accredited, senior-level umpires and coaches, each Academy trains on Monday afternoons after school finishes. They give our young umpires the ability to learn their craft in a familiar and supportive environment, and also provide a training option for those who can't make regular training sessions at Scovell Reserve or MacKillop College on other nights.
These days, there are numerous umpiring Academies throughout the state and in particular in the western region. Caroline Springs and Maribyrnong Sports College have also hosted Academies, with at least Caroline Springs and now Westbourne actively running Academies in 2016.
Importantly, though, you don't actually have to go to the school to be a member of the academy. Just contact us and we can ensure you get started. And there are plenty of places to train, academy or not.
Training begins at 4pm and finishes at 5:15pm, with the focus being on teaching the basics and getting young umpires ready for the rigours and challenges of the match day environment. There is not much physical work at training as there simply isn't the time. There is so much to learn to become an umpire that we have to rely on all young umpires to put in the effort themselves to bring their fitness up to the level required.
During school holidays and on public holidays, there is no Academy training.
The uniform of the WRFL umpire is the traditional white, with a blue/white/red stripe to represent the western region. Uniforms are provided to first year umpires at no charge, but there are some additional things you will need such as runners, boots, wristbands and so on.
As an Academy umpire in your first or second year, you will also wear a "trainee umpire" bib. Find out more information about uniforms.
There is no specific age requirement, but it's recommended that you be at least in Secondary School (Year 7) such that you have the mental and physical maturity to start to cope with the rigours of umpiring.
If you are younger than this (i.e. Grade 6) and are interested, please speak to us and we can recommend the best approach for you.
Can I Still Go To Other Training?
The main body of umpires trains at two main venues: Scovell Reserve (Maidstone) and MacKillop College (Werribee). This is on Wednesdays and Tuesdays & Thursdays respectively. All umpires are encouraged to attend these other venues if they can/desire (training starts at 5:45pm at these other locations) but this is not compulsory.
The focus at these other venues is very much on fitness and running. However, should anybody be unable to attend the academy but is still interested in umpiring and attending one of these other venues, please contact us and we will make arrangements to conduct special training on these nights that is focused on skilling our younger members up the same way we do at the Academies.
The WRFL further supports its young umpires by providing mentors for each and every game a young trainee umpire undertakes. These mentors are senior umpires with many years experience who give up their time on Sundays to help our young umpires cope with the transition into umpiring. Mentors are assigned for all games until the umpire is considered competent enough to handle themselves on the football field, but in general most of the first year is considered a fully-mentored experience.
Umpiring is a paid activity and all young Academy umpires are no exception. Your pay varies and depends on the level and type of umpiring you are doing. You can find out more information about payments here.
Where Do I Start Umpiring?
Your first game will be with a mentor. Depending on whether you have selected field, boundary or goal, the age group you will umpire in your first game is different:
- Field umpires will start in Under 9's & 10's (Sunday morning)
- Boundary umpires and goal umpires will start in Under 16's (Sunday afternoon) or Under 18's (Saturday morning)
As you progress and improve, you will find yourself moving to higher age groups.
Can I Play Football Too?
Yes. Please tell us which club you play for, and what age group, and we can ensure there are no conflicts in your timetables (and also no conflicts of interest!).
We are conscious that many parents have lots and lots of driving to do, with one child playing football, another tennis, another taking piano lessons, and now maybe another umpiring! If you have special requirements in terms of travel and being in a particular area on a particular day to assist with minimising travel "runaround", please let us know and we will do our best to take everything into consideration and ensure you can meet all your commitments while still being able to umpire.
If you or your children are interested in becoming an umpire through an Academy pathway, please get in contact with us via this website or enquire at your local Academy for further information.