I was on my 8th lap around the race-track. Success was within reach. I could feel it.

… Just two more laps to go …

‘There’s no chance that I’m giving up, now’, I thought. ‘You’ve got this! I’m going to do it!’, I said to myself.

… The rush of feelings and emotions that ensued as soon as I finished the 10th and final lap, are indescribable. All I can tell you is that it’s one of the best feelings in the world, when you and your colleagues cheer and share the same excitement together as a team. When you know that you’ve worked very hard for something, and despite having previously failed, you give it one final try, and you do it.

21st February 2017 – the day I successfully passed my Referees FIFA Fitness Test,  and earned my long-awaited promotion to National Assistant Referee. The start of a new experience, where more doors of opportunity had opened.

Three things I learned that day: mind over matter, that being mentally prepared is as equally important as being physically prepared, and above all, perseverance.

Believe and you will achieve, as one of my mentors used to say.

Here I am today, a couple of weeks later, having made my debut as an assistant referee in the Maltese BOV 3rd Division.

And, to top it all off, this match was even more special for me, as it was the 200th game in my career.

This was a truly unforgettable experience. Apart from it being my debut at a much higher level of local football, I was also very honoured to have officiated with one of Malta’s elite FIFA referees – Clayton Pisani.

– Preston Carbonaro