Starting out her umpiring career in the goal square, Sophie Gleeson showed her versatility when she moved onto field umpiring. She is an active member in the VAFA Women’s Umpiring Academy and was involved in their recent initiative One Foot Forward: The Walk for Mental Health.
Why did you get involved in umpiring?
My dad is an umpire with the VAFA and suggested I get involved.
What do you do outside of umpiring?
I’m a Business Analyst at Department of Health and Human Services. In my spare time I enjoy travelling (when the borders aren’t closed) hiking, running, beach days and going out for brunch.
Why should young girls and women get involved in umpiring?
It’s a great way to stay fit, meet new people and earn money. Over the years, umpiring has help me build my confidence and self-esteem. It’s a great way to get involved in sport after you finish school and is also like having a part-time job, it’s pretty good being paid to exercise.
What makes the umpiring experience so great?
The people involved with the VAFA and the social aspect. I’ve met some amazing people throughout my time at the VAFA though training and game days. Everyone is so genuine and kind. It’s a diverse group of people and I’ve made some lifelong friendships and happy memories.
What makes the VAFA such a great place to umpire and why should aspiring umpires come here?
I’ve umpired in a few competitions and the VAFA comes out on top for a few reasons. The respect from players, coaches, game day officials and other umpires is something that really stands out. Training is about making you a better umpire, and the coaches are beyond dedicated to helping you become the best you can be.
Who are the role models in your life? Do you have any in umpiring?
I really look up to all AFL umpires. I have a lot of respect for them as it’s not an easy job, doing what they do.
What is it about the VAFA environment both at training and matchday that makes the experience worth it?
The VAFA environment across training and match days is always welcoming and respectful.
Why should you join the VAFA Women’s Umpiring Academy?
VAFA Women’s Umpiring Academy gives girls the opportunity to be a part of an amazing umpiring team and community, while getting involved in football. It offers woman of all ages the chance to try new things while building confidence and lifelong friendships.