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Bransgore referee Jade Wardle officiates televised Women's FA Cup match between Manchester United and Manchester City

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A BRANSGORE woman has taken a massive step in her refereeing journey after officiating the televised Women’s FA Cup match between Manchester United and Manchester City.

Jade Wardle (24) has refereed since she was 14 years old, but this is the pinnacle of her journey after previously officiating locally in the Wessex Football League and being an assistant referee in the Southern League.

Jade Wardle (left) with England and Manchester City star Ellen White (55324986)
Jade Wardle (left) with England and Manchester City star Ellen White (55324986)

Manchester City went on to win the game comfortably 4-1, with Lauren Hemp, Ellen White, Caroline Weir, and Khadija Shaw scoring for City after Katie Zelem gave United the lead after 13 minutes.

Speaking about learning she had been appointed to the fifth round match, the former Ringwood School pupil said: “I was walking with my friend, Chloe-Ann [Anderson], who also happened to be appointed to the game, about the game before the email came through.

“We saw we were both selected for the game together, and we were both so excited. We were buzzing throughout the rest of the week.

“On the day, it was a great occasion, some great football was played, and I got to officiate with a great team of officials.

“After the game, I had friends and family messaging pictures of me on TV. I enjoyed myself the entire time. It was a pleasure to represent not only myself but my county, the FA and the Professional Game Match Officials Limited that weekend.”

Wardle originally became a referee because it was challenging to find a job that allowed her to juggle school life and playing football. However, she says she soon realised she “was a better referee than a player”.

She added: “I refereed my first men’s game in 2014 when I was 16 years old. I was already nervous, but to top it off, the game was to be filmed as part of a TV advert for the National Citizen Service. So, it was a big occasion for me, the first time refereeing adults with cameras following me around.”

Wardle is currently a Level 4 referee after being promoted in 2019. Along with refereeing in the Wessex Football League and Southern League, she has also officiated in the FA Women’s Championship League, FA Women’s Super League, the Dorset Premier League and more.

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