Waikato Umpire Gains International Umpiring Accreditation
Waikato Lacrosse Head Umpire, Ursula Johnson, recently received her Level 1 International Accreditation for umpiring at the World Lacrosse Women’s U19 Championships. She is one of only two umpires in New Zealand to have been recognised at this level or to hold an International Accreditation for umpiring in women’s lacrosse.
She walks us through how she started umpiring and the steps along the way to this achievement.
How many years have you been umpiring?
Everyone helps out in lacrosse, so I first picked up a whistle 12 years ago to umpire B Division during the Auckland High School League.
Why did you get into umpiring?
Without umpires, you don’t have a game. When I moved to the Waikato in 2010, I realised I was going to need to take learning how to umpire more seriously so we could develop not only players and coaches, but umpires as well. Since then I’ve been learning as much as I can to be able to umpire myself, and to also help others who are umpiring.
What do you enjoy most about umpiring?
I enjoy being able to facilitate the game for all the players and coaches to keep it safe, fair and fun. If I can do that effectively then the lacrosse that is played is a great product which encourages more people to get involved, either as umpires or as coaches, players, managers and administrators.
What are the biggest tournaments that you have officiated at?
I’ve just come back from umpiring at the World Women’s Lacrosse U19 Championship, which was amazing. I’ve also umpired at NZ Senior, U18 and U15 Nationals, as well as the Australian U15 Tournament in 2017.
You had some recent successes at the World Lacrosse Women’s U19 Championship Tournament. What happened there?
I was lucky enough to gain my World Lacrosse Level 1 Accreditation. A highlight was being selected to umpire the 4v5 quarter final match at that tournament.
What would you say to players (or non-players) thinking about having a go at umpiring?
Come and give it a go! Umpiring gives you a greater appreciation of the rules which helps when playing and coaching, or watching from the sidelines. It’s also great way to stay fit and a really rewarding experience.
Photo (from left to right) Cathy Russo, Nicole Goode, Ursula Johnson and Ake Kriwall at the 2019 World Women’s U19 Championships in Canada