Olivia Ståhlgren is both a player and a referee - this summer she refereed a Partille Cup final
Olivia Ståhlgren both plays and referees handball.
Olivia Ståhlgren is both a player and a referee. This summer she refereed the B12 final in the Partille Cup between the Danish teams Hörning Håndbold and Virum Sorgenfri HK 1.
– It was nervous at first, says the 20-year-old.
Olivia Ståhlgren lives in Gothenburg and is a district referee in handball. But she's also a handball player.
– On a daily basis, I like to do sports and exercise. I'm studying to become a physiotherapist and also play handball in Kungälv, at division 1 level. In addition to that, I work the remaining time during the week, with refereeing or at a grocery store, says Olivia Ståhlgren.
Refereeing started as a mandatory thing at her former club.
– Everyone had to attend a referee training education for mini handball. Then, it became an easy thing you could do on the weekends, to earn some extra money. After that, I tried to refereeing older players on a full pitch. The interest began to grow. When I later got fluency and a little more fun and special assignments, it became extra fun to continue, she says.
Refereeing at district level means that Olivia referees everything from division 2 for seniors to mini handball.
– The most enjoyable part of being a referee is the game. Like all players, I like the speed, the tactics and the atmosphere. You also get to take part in this when you are a referee. You get to contribute to the game working as good as possible and you're a part of the match.
Refereeing a final in the Partille Cup is rare. She admits she was a little bit nervous at first.
– But as soon as the signal was blown, there was full focus. It wasn't a difficult match to work with. The boys were twelve years old and they were kind to each other, which made it very nice for me as a referee.
She has several strong memories from the tournament.
– The strongest impression I got was a special game. It gave me a different picture of what handball can look like. It was a French boys' team that played with a different character. It was a lively and fast-paced handball without set-up play. It featured quick second-phase counterattacks and situational play, where players were constantly moving without and with the ball. It was very memorable, says Olivia Ståhlgren and continues:
– As a referee, you had to think, move and really follow the ball and the players in order to not miss a situation. But the best thing about the tournament was the amount of training you got and also the organizing team for us referees. We received feedback, which is developing in itself.
Right now, the 20-year-old finds it difficult to judge as much as she would like, as she plays so much herself.
– But my goals are to referee more important and exciting matches when the time allows. In another world, I can also imagine judging as a profession both in and outside of Sweden. A dream would be to both referee and play handball in combination with the profession of physiotherapist. But right now it's in another dimension.
She would be happy to be a reference the Partille Cup once again in the future.
– I really don't think that Partille Cup 2022 was the last time I refereed in the tournament, says Olivia Ståhlgren.