Graeme Browne reflects on refereeing career after his Concacaf U-20 finals appointment
Graeme Browne is a humble Kittitian born and raised in the village of Sandy Point. His football career began at a tender age and his talent was undoubtedly outstanding. Browne recalls his love for the game being unwavering even as a player. Eventually he was called up for the national team’s training squad but although circumstances drove him to quit playing the game, he could never see himself being away from football.
Stewart Rawlins was given credit for getting Graeme interested in becoming a referee. Graeme recalls officiating his first unofficial refereeing game barefooted. He then joined the referee’s association in 2004 and this is where Graeme’s career all began.
Seven years later and Graeme is reaping the rewards of hard work and humility. He describes his experiences as being great. “The treatment is great, you get celebrity treatment, first class flying, top level protection, you get to meet great people, some of whom I am pleased to call my brothers”.
His first match appointment was two years after his appointment to the FIFA list in 2006. Since then Graeme has never been omitted from the list. Of course nothing in life is without challenges and this is no exception. Browne expressed that some of his greatest challenges were the language barrier due to person being chosen from many different regions. To overcome this, he had to take extra foreign language classes to supplement the foreign language foundation from his secondary school.
One of his greatest challenges is living up to the expectations of critics. Graeme is not one to let down people, he loves making his countrymen proud, more importantly however, he loves making his daughter Gabriel proud. His daughter would love more than anything to follow in her father’s footprints and is actually his biggest critic. “Gabriel is my biggest critic, she even calls me cheating referee Graeme. She is my biggest motivator”. He takes a photo of her with him when he leaves to remind him that she is always expecting him to do his best.
Other challenges include adapting to the extreme changes in climate, most recently, that of the cold weather in Mexico this month. He remembers having temporary paralysis but was helped along the way by his colleagues and the organizers.
“I have experienced many challenges along the way but I would still encourage everyone to be a referee. Refereeing teaches you to handle challenges, make snap decisions and adapt to situations. The benefits are endless, travelling, meeting friends, meeting celebrities, staying at top hotels etc”.
Graeme has so many people he wishes to thank for helping him along his journey. He wishes to thank God and Gabriel, Franklin Dorsett, Anthony Rawlins, Peter Jenkins, Anthony Johnson, Percy Daniel, Fitzroy Eddy, Troy Mills, Peter Pendergast, Judith Isles, Rawle Isaac and so many more too numerous to mention.