Lucy May celebrated her selection for a prestigious global football tournament and declared: I’m ecstatic.
The Portsmouth referee has been specially picked to attend the Dallas Cup youth tournament in America this Easter.
The Drayton official has been chosen to represent England in the tournament, which only invites the world’s elite club youth teams to participate.
May, who impressed selectors as the assistant referee in the 2011 Women’s FA Cup final, said ‘When I found out I had been selected for Dallas I was ecstatic.’
‘This opportunity has been a stepping stone for so many of our top officials.
‘To be given the opportunity is fantastic and something I will ensure I embrace fully.
‘I am looking forward to it and hope it will help me in my bid for promotion.’
The Dallas Cup is staged over a seven-day period, ending on April 8.
Teams and referees will travel from 100 countries and six continents to compete.
These will include many of the world’s premier clubs, such as Manchester United, Paris Saint Germain, Mexico outfit Tigres, Eintracht Frankfurt, Everton and Boca Juniors of Argentina.
The FA has identified the competition as a perfect development opportunity for up-and-coming British referees.
They are therefore funding a place for eight candidates from each of the regional referee development groups.
Ian Blanchard, senior national game referee manager at the FA said: ‘Many consider the Dallas Cup referee corps to be one of the best for a youth tournament.
‘World-class referees, some of whom are FIFA referees with past World Cup appointments, take part in the tournament.
‘It provides the opportunity for these referees to operate with a variety of officials.
‘The FA is fully committed to providing improvement opportunities for referees who are involved in the National Referee Development Programme.’
George McCaffery, a referee coach and group leader, echoed Blanchard’s thoughts.
He said: ‘This is a great opportunity for referees to experience the challenges associated with international football, while also developing their own personality.
‘Being a group member of a prominent tournament referee panel creates a positive learning environment for them.’
May’s appointment is another feather in the cap of the Hampshire FA.
Earlier this season they celebrated as May led the first all-female team of officials in the Wessex League.
Alongside her that day – as Totton & Eling hosted Lymington Town – were Paula Wyatt, from Petersfield, and Gosport’s Amy Robinson.
Hampshire FA referee development manager Brian Le Breton wished May well on her adventure across the pond.
He said: ‘To be one of only eight referees selected by the Football Association to attend this prestigious tournament is a great achievement for Lucy.
‘She has only been a referee for seven years and has been fortunate to be a part of the County Referee Development Programme.
‘Her selection is a reflection of the hard work and commitment she has shown in the support of local football.
‘We wish her every success.’