Ahead of the 2023 season, the Yarra Junior Football League (YJFL) and the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) are pleased to announce an exciting new umpire growth partnership. This agreement ensures both leagues collaborate on key umpire matters including education, pathways, training and recruitment.
The first step in this partnership is the set up of a satellite training venue at Koonung Reserve, Bulleen. Every Monday night from the 3rd of April, VAFA umpires will join the YJFL umpires in combined training sessions across all three disciplines: boundary, field and goal. The VAFA will also assist the YJFL in mentoring and coaching opportunities for their junior umpires who are often only in their first or second year of umpiring. By offering high levels coaching, junior umpires will gain confidence and the essential skills they need to step out on the field each weekend.
The partnership activities will also see both leagues working together to foster clear pathways between both leagues in umpiring, developing talented umpires in the region and improving umpire recruitment, retention and participation in both regions. A clear pathway has now been created for YJFL umpires to transition to senior football in the VAFA competition once they have finished their junior umpiring career. Those that transition into senior football can then give back to junior umpires by offering mentoring opportunities and officiating high priority junior games.
VAFA and YJFL umpires are encouraged to officiate in both competitions, this will ease the pressure on clubs with increased coverage levels on junior and senior games. Umpires will also have the ability to earn extra income through the creation of a genuine casual job opportunity, high school and university students can umpire with the VAFA on a Saturday and the YJFL on a Sunday.
VAFA CEO Jason Reddick was delighted to secure this key partnership, saying “This new partnership with the YJFL is a great initiative that will help support each of our competitions in the critical area of growing umpire numbers.
“We look forward to working closely with YJFL CEO Aaron Bailey and the YJFL umpires in supporting their career progression into senior ranks, as well as offering our umpires opportunities to umpire in the YJFL and expand their capacity for mentoring junior umpires whilst also boosting their earnings."
“Of course, from a purely VAFA perspective, it is fantastic to have a new training facility operating in one of our heartland areas, which we hope will assist current and new umpires with improved access to training and coaching.”
Likewise, YJFL CEO Aaron Bailey was pleased to formalize this relationship that will benefit junior umpires and local member clubs.
“We are excited to partner with the VAFA on such a key initiative,” Bailey said.
“This partnership will support both leagues in the growth, development, and retention of umpires and creates a pathway for umpires in the YJFL region to progress their umpiring."
“The potential of having senior umpires mentoring umpires and managing older male and female age groups will provide significant benefit to the YJFL.”
The first training session between VAFA and YJFL umpires will take place on Monday 3rd of April from 6pm at Koonung Reserve, Bulleen. Elsternwick Park will be closed on this night to VAFA umpires, allowing VAFA umpires and coaches to try out the new venue on partnership launch night. Following Monday 3 April, VAFA umpires will have the option of training at Elsternwick Park or Koonung Reserve each Monday.
Both leagues look forward to working together to achieve positive umpiring outcomes during the 2023 season.