Chichester referee Matt Lee has been identified by Sussex FA as a star of the future – and will aim to live up to the billing when he officiates at a tournament in Dallas.
The FA are continuously striving to improve the standard of referees and have established eight regional development groups as part of the National Referee Development Programme.
Lee, a level-four referee, was selected by Sussex FA to be involved in the programme.
Following a thorough selection process, Lee has now been appointed as one of only eight referees to represent the FA at the prestigious 2011 Dallas Cup International Youth Tournament, where teams such as Arsenal, Barcelona, SC Corinthians (Brazil), Eintracht Frankfurt, Tigres (Mexico), Club Bolivar (Bolivia) and the Japan under-18 national team will be playing.
Lee said: “I’m honoured and very excited to be selected.”
George McCaffery, referee coach to the Dallas Cup referees, said: “World-class referees, some of whom are FIFA referees with past World Cup appointments, take part in the tournament each year, providing the ideal opportunity for all of the candidates to operate with a variety of officials.
“They will also have to develop the many skills required to officiate teams that do not speak English while considering the different cultures and attitudes of players and officials.”
According to Sussex referee development officer Paul Saunders, such a trip can only benefit Lee’s career as a man in the middle.
He said: “Matt has been selected and provided with a great opportunity to develop his skills in a challenging, supportive and focused environment.
“He has been a very active member of our referee academy and has been identified as having the potential to officiate at higher levels.”