One of Football NSW’s leading female referees Kelly Jones is set to make a return when she takes charge of the Round 2 W-League clash when the Western Sydney Wanderers take on the Newcastle Jets at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night.
The 29-year-old will make her return officiating the big match after taking a short-break from football following the birth of her first son Mason.
For referees at the elite level who are expected to perform to the highest standard each week, finding the balance between family, social life, work and football can often be a delicate balancing act, especially with a new born child.
“It’s definitely not easy,” Jones told Football NSW.
“I have two training sessions a week and I also fit in as much as I can on my own.
“I time it well so when Mason is sleeping, I can use the home gym.
“We’re really lucky to have a very supportive family who are so willing to help out.”
Time away from the game hasn’t diminished Jones’ desire to reach the top of the refereeing ranks.
“It feels great to be back in the middle, I can’t describe how good it is.
“I was still training throughout the pregnancy and I got through about half of the winter season and was involved in the rest as a fourth official.
“I’ve been involved in W-League Grand Finals as an additional assistant referee, but the ultimate goal is to get that grand final appointment.”
Being born into a family that has football in its blood, Kelly’s husband Grant continues to play NPL football, you could be forgiven for thinking Mason was destined to play or become a referee himself.
“We’d love for him to play football but that’s a decision we want him to be able make on his own.”