The chorus of 'There's only one...' is commonplace in the football world but for referee Nathan Mattick, never a truer word has been spoken. 

The 24-year-old is currently the only Powerchair referee in this country and has been taking charge of matches since obtaining his badges back in 2015. 
The Cheltenham-based official was born with Cerebral Palsy and despite being told from an early age that he would struggle to participate in sports in any capacity, his determination has known no bounds. 
With help from the Gloucestershire FA, and in particular development officer and former top-flight referee Steve Tanner, Mattick has been able to realise his life-long dream of being a referee.

How did you first get into refereeing?

I used to watch football as a kid and I was always interesting in it but then all of a sudden I became fascinated with the officials. I remember actually looking at and finding out that you had to be 14 years old before you could start the course - so I had a little time to wait before I could get going. 
At secondary school, I had to spend a lot of time in the gym when others were playing sport but one afternoon I was given a whistle and went out a refereed an 11-a-side football match which was an amazing experience. 
I ended up moving on to National Star College in Cheltenham to study sports science and straight away, they were on board with the idea and wanted to help me realise my dream.

What part did the Gloucestershire FA play in your journey to becoming a referee?

I got in touch with the Gloucestershire FA and spoke to Steve Tanner - it was one of those 'if you don't try you'll never know' situations. Steve and the college then worked in collaboration to get me on the course as soon as possible really and after a day-long course I was a qualified referee. 

How proud were you of that moment?

I was absolutely thrilled because I never knew whether it would be possible but it's something I've always wanted to do. Since I qualified I haven't looked back and I just wanted to continue to be involved as much as I can be. I feel as though I've beaten the odds to some extent and it's something that I treasure immensely. 

How did you feel when you first starting officiating on a regular basis?

I was a nervous wreck because I didn't know what the players would say or think about me. But that was the never the case and I've always been accepted with open arms which has made me way more confident. 

How do you reflect on your journey now?

It's given me an opportunity to give back to society because I've been given a lot of opportunities in my life. You need a referee for every game to take place so for me, officiating is my way of giving something back to others - and I get to do something I love at the same time. 

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