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This four-year-old girl’s response to seeing a female referee for the first time will melt your heart

Clara’s touching remark shines a light on why representation matters in sport.


Clara Walker.

Clara Walker.

Clara Walker.

Female role models at county-level football are hard to come by – and a father’s tweet about his four-year-old daughter wanting to be a referee has melted the hearts of many soccer fans.

Nuneaton Town fan Nathan Walker, who lives in West Yorkshire, took daughter Clara and nine-month-old son Rufus to an NCEL Premier Division match on October 14 to watch Garforth Town play against Hall Road Rangers when Clara spotted a female assistant referee.

Delighted by her presence, she asked her father: “Her hair is like mine, can I be a referee?”

Clara, who was referring to Melissa Burgin – a 19-year-old Level Four Sheffield and Hallamshire County referee, has been to a lot of non-league football matches with her father but this was the first time she spotted a female official.

“She normally says the referees are her favourites as black is her favourite colour,” said Nathan.

“She had a great day, she loves going to the football, mainly because she gets chips, but she had to make do with a sausage sandwich as Garforth don’t do chips.”

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The tweet, which has garnered more than 5,000 likes since it was posted, struck a chord among Twitter users, with one user saying, “this has warmed my heart” while another adding: “Thank you for sharing… representation is truly important!”

Nathan says they will be back for more football action next week, weather permitting.

The world needs more inspirational youngsters like Clara.

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