A YOUNG referee wants to inspire other teenage girls to take up football after watching the Lionesses reached the semi-final of the World Cup.

Ella Broad started refereeing at just 14 after she started playing at 10.

Now with women’s football in the limelight she hopes other girls will get involved in the sport.

The 16-year-old said: “I have always enjoyed football and I am passionate about promoting female involvement in the game.

“When I was 14 I decided to try refereeing.

“Initially I saw it as a hobby and as a way to earn some extra money doing something that I enjoy, but now it has developed to be much more than that. It is shaping my career.

“We are starting to see a positive change in women’s football as it becomes more mainstream with growing funds and increased skill levels.

“My hope is the next generation don’t see football as a male sport. They will have a different experience.

“They will have grown up watching high-profile men’s and women’s teams on TV, they will have football role models, both male and female and they will have been supported by both male and female referees and coaches.

“We are starting a movement in the sport and I hope we are inspiring people to believe football is not just for boys.”

Over the past two seasons Ella has received awards for refereeing, including best level 8 referee, best junior referee, referee of the year and for two consecutive years she has been awarded the FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Award.

Ella, from Westbury, has recently started her level 7-5 promotion and after passing an assessment she has been invited to join the FA Centre of Refereeing Excellence, a programme that offers quality training, education and development opportunities for referees.

CEO at Wiltshire FA Oliver Selfe said “We are very proud of Ella’s story. She is just 16 and has been identified as having clear potential to progress in refereeing.

“There has never been a better time for female referees with the FA’s strategy for women’s and girls’ football aiming to double participation, including in the work-force. This growth is essential to reflect the game’s true appeal for all.

“Ella joins 1,500 qualified female referees who have already picked up the whistle and her story will help to raise the profile of refereeing. We hope it encourages people to consider joining the men and women in the middle, who are vital to the game.”

Ella, who goes to Kingdown School in Warminster, plans to continue projecting through the higher levels of refereeing and aims to continue refereeing alongside her education and subsequently her career.