Former FIFA Referee Courtney Campbell is the new President of the Jamaica Football Referees Association (JFRA). He was elected to the post on March 31, 2014 and is ready for the task at hand.
By profession, Campbell holds the rank of Corporal in the Jamaica Constabulary Force, where he has been a law enforcer for the past 14 years. He became a referee officially in 2000 and was on the FIFA list from 2004-2014.
CFU Media caught up with the 45-year-old for an incisive interview about his new role, and what has given him the strength to carry on despite some of the obstacles he faced professionally and personally.
He began by stating that his took his new role seriously and change will be on the horizon.
“Some of the improvements which myself and my colleagues will be targeting are to improve the welfare of the members; build a closer relationship between the JFRA and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF); work very closely with the JFF Referees Committee to improve the standard of officiating and trying to get on par with the Central American level.
“We are not where we would want it to be, but we are improving and I am sure with the emphasis placed on development by the JFF we will get there.”
The physically fit, charismatic gentleman is also a dedicated husband to his wife and four children.
"My performance as a FIFA Referee got off on a rocky start but I bounced back with resilience and planted myself firmly. A year later my wife and mother of my four children (three girls and one boy) was struck by the deadly disease known as Cancer.”
Campbell said he was devastated but after analgising his situation as the head of the family, the seriousness of the disease and what it would take to keep her alive; he took the illness as a motivational factor.
“The fact of the matter is that during my tenor on the international circuit and locally, I had to ensure that I perform above expectations in order for me to appoint myself to the next game so that my wife’s medical bills could be sustained and my children get a proper education. That was what motivated me throughout my referee career,” Campbell pointed out with his usual broad smile."
Despite the reality of his wife having had four surgeries and is still ailing with the disease that has recently spread to her liver, Campbell has managed to ride the waves standing up as a father for his three daughters who have graduated and are now working while his only son is still in High School and doing well.
Campbell was born in the district of Effort Ville in Clarendon and was an avid goal keeper for his ‘alma mater’ Vere Technical High School.
He recalled that it was the former President of the St Elizabeth Football Association Courtney Brown who prompted him to join the Referees Group in the parish while he was there working at the Pedro Plains Police Station.
“I was attending a game at the Barbary Hall Play field when one of the Assistant Referees assigned to the game failed to show up for his game and Courtney Brown asked me to fill in. Without any hesitation I took the flag and did the best I could. Brown was impressed and encouraged me to join the group. I did so and was trained by former FIFA Referees Victor Stewart and Dave Meikle who both are now CONCACAF Elite Referee Assessors and Regional Referee Instructors.”
“My advice to young aspiring referees in Jamaica and the Caribbean is to set goals and work hard to achieve them. Put your all into it and reap the benefits when the time is right,” he ended.