Oceania: Kelly-Anne Foskin: A Journey to Umpiring Success

Kelly-Anne Foskin made her international 11-aside umpiring debut during the recent Vantage Black Sticks series vs Japan. In an interview leading up to the test series weekend, she fondly reminisces about one of her most cherished moments as an umpire – her very first game.

‘As I stepped out onto the turf in an oversized bright orange shirt, I remember my dad saying to me, “You’ve got this, just call what you see.”’

She commented that after that match the two of them re-hashed the basics of decision making, clear signals, positioning, and whistle tone.  

‘This is what I always refer back to when I need to reset myself in intense situations.’

Foskin’s umpiring journey began in Taranaki around ten years of age. As a child, Foskin grew up on a dairy farm, a far cry from a hockey turf. She would spend weekends with her family that were dedicated to watching and taking part in hockey and she herself would take part in the junior competition as well as observing her father umpire senior club matches.

This, and watching her father teach others the art of umpiring is what consequently drew her to doing the same later on – as this was what drove her initially to start taking part in hockey.

She endeavoured to increase her understanding of the game’s rules in order to improve upon her skills as a player, yet this came with a realisation; that it was umpiring that she had a true passion for.  

Discussing the process of her rise to international umpiring level, she notes how critical her family’s support was to the kickstarting of her career. She credits all of her foundational skills in the art of umpiring to them.

She originally began with the umpiring of local junior competition games, and was able to progress further from this with the encouragement and aid of Taranaki Hockey and Hockey New Zealand. She humbly mentions that through this support system she was fortunate enough to attend age group tournaments from under 13’s through to under 21’s, and even now the Ford NHC.

She remarks, ‘It’s at these tournaments where I have been able to create life-long connections and gained invaluable knowledge from a range of inspiring people.’

One of these inspiring people being that of Female FIH Umpire Of The Year for both 2021 and 2022, Amber Church, who umpired alongside Foskin at the Japan test series.

She touches upon her initial experiences with international hockey umpiring at the Oceania Cup in 2019 as a hockey 5’s umpire and her participation at the Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.

‘Both of these experiences broadened my horizons and exposed me to the complexities and amazing culture of umpiring at an international level.’

However, this journey did not come without setbacks. When asked about challenges she’s had to overcome over the course of her career, she speaks briefly of managing injuries and other complications. Nevertheless, her outlook on these difficulties remains positive.

‘These obstacles served as learning experiences, teaching me resilience and the importance of listening to my body.’

She holds firm belief that overcoming any challenges that have been thrown her way have only reinforced her determination and resolve to succeed within her career.  

Expanding on Foskin’s belief in the significance of listening to one’s body, she is of the opinion that preparation is more than just a physical readiness for the demands of the game – but mental readiness is also key.

‘I want to be able to control the ‘controlables’ by ensuring I have had plenty of rest, maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity and being around hockey in general.’

This includes the analysis of game footage, discussing scenarios with her peers and reflecting on her personal goals. Foskin acknowledges the pivotal role of these activities in enhancing her comprehension of different team dynamics, creating game plans with her own officials team, and portraying hockey positively, ensuring an enjoyable experience for all involved.

When questioned about her feelings and emotions surrounding her international hockey umpiring debut, she describes the experience as a ‘very surreal moment’.  The opportunity is that of one she has been working towards since those initial games umpiring under the watchful eye of her father. 

‘Nerves do keep creeping into the back of my mind, but I am mostly excited to take the field this weekend. I just want to get out there and enjoy the moment as much as I can while servicing the game.’

Reflecting on everything she has been through, Foskin is mindful of those she credits for her success. These being her family, her friends, and the community and pathway provided to her by Hockey New Zealand. She is convinced that the guidance she has received over the years has been invaluable, and that – ‘In all my highs and lows on this journey I know there has always been people in my corner.’

When asked what advice she would give to aspiring umpires who dream of reaching the international stage, she offers a piece of sound advice – ‘embrace every challenge as an opportunity for growth, seek mentorship and feedback, stay engaged with the sport, and above all, remain patient and persistent.’

The journey to becoming an international umpire, she concludes, is truly ‘a testament to the power of passion, dedication and the support of those around us.’

by Oceania Hockeyl

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

SanFair Newsletter

The latest on what’s moving world – delivered straight to your inbox
Verified by MonsterInsights