Jake Charles gaining good reputation as up-and-coming hockey umpire

Up-and-coming umpire Jake Charles revealed England international hockey player and former Ipswich School pupil, Harry Martin, is a big inspiration in his own quest to make the top of the game.

Charles, 17, was appointed as an umpire for the National Under-18 Indoor School Championships at the start of January.

The following week he officiated at the National Under-16 Boys’ Club Indoor Championship and subsequent final before being chosen to umpire the under-16 games between England and Wales at Lilleshall, last week.

Haughley-based, Suffolk New College student, Charles has designs on officiating at the Olympics and is targeting a place at the 2020 event, which will be held in one of five countries; Turkey, Japan, Azerbaijan, Qatar or Spain.

“I am quite low down in the pecking order at the moment but Harry showed what can be achieved if you work hard at a young age,” said Charles, who is on the England Hockey National Young Umpire Promising List, and is the only under-18 on the A panel.

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“He was in the England team at the Commonwealth Games at the age of 17 so I think I can use that as an inspiration. He is a very big role-model to me, even though I am on the umpiring side and he is on the playing side.”

Ipswich Hockey Club member Charles’ latest appointment, the two international games between England and Wales saw him win acclaim, along with his co-umpire, Matt McMahon, from both sets of coaches.

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“Me and my colleague (McMahon) were highly praised by both sets of coaches and it was made even more special considering Wales lost the two games by an aggregate of around 15 or 16-0,” said Charles.

“I think the key is to be thick-skinned, confident, fit and understanding out on the pitch. It is important to have a good personality too and be able to communicate with other players.”

Such attributes are severely tested, especially when it comes to umpiring senior-level games in the National League, where, more often than not, the former Debenham High School pupil is keeping players, several years his senior, in check.

“It’s completely different to umpiring junior games and the play is a lot more physical,” he revealed.

“The players look at my age but I probably have more experience than some of them.”

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