Canberra's famous Kanga Cup football tournament may be over, but for young Queanbeyan referee Christian Davanzo, refereeing at the southern hemisphere's biggest soccer carnival was his greatest learning curve.
This year's Kanga Cup was held between July 6 and July 11, and boasting over 4000 players across 275 teams, was the largest installment of the event in its 14 year history.
But in refereeing a large number of lower age group matches across the tournament, Davanzo stuck to a number of core values in the art of refereeing to come out very successful.
"One of my favourite jokes to ponder is: player 1- 'I really can't stand referees'. Player 2- 'why?'. Player 1- “They get all the free kicks for us right and all the free kicks against us wrong – why can’t they be more consistent?,” said Davanzo.
"You will definitely gain confidence as a referee because there is always someone that will try to knock you down with insults and you need to stand firm."
"It can be terrifying especially those first few games."
Davanzo said the parents and other supporters of players on the field are the toughest to deal with, quoting with a laugh "the adults and coaches seem to all become professionals when their on the side line and often desperate to win."
"I have to remind myself that they don’t see me as a young man that wants to learn more about refereeing and gaining experience, but they often see me as the enemy whose decisions sometimes gets in their way," he said.
It was the second year Davanzo refereed at the tournament, and the second time he had the chance to officiate in a finals match too.
Apart from dealing with annoyed fans and players, he said building character and being able to watch talented young players were his favourite aspects of refereeing.
"It’s helped me develop confidence, commitment, teamwork, punctuality and a nice little bank account. I only hope that the valuable experience I am gaining will help me in my future," he said.