A young referee from County Durham is celebrating after he received an international call-up.

Carl Draper is normally used to officiating in the Wear Valley Adults Sunday League’s Division 1 and 2 and assisting referees in the Northern League.

But in July the Bishop Auckland College Higher Education student will be travelling to Estoril in Portugal, where he will be refereeing in the IberCup – one of the largest international youth football tournaments in the world.

The tournament will feature the best Academy Clubs from around the globe, with 200 teams from five different continents playing matches on more than 30 football pitches.

Carl, an HND Sport student, was selected by Durham FA Referees Academy for the opportunity, despite only being in his second year of refereeing. He faced a tough selection process, but was ultimately chosen for his professionalism and impressive performances on the pitch so far this year.

Carl qualified with Durham FA in 2017 aged 18 and is currently a Level 7 referee but is aiming for Level 5, hoping to eventually become a professional ref. He also plays as a striker for the college’s men’s team in the open age league with Durham FA.

The 20-year-old, from Bishop Auckland, said: “I am delighted to have been offered the chance to referee at such a well-respected international tournament. It will be a great opportunity to gain experience of refereeing at a major event and improve my own skills.”

Alex Clark, Referee Development Officer for Durham County FA, is also attending the trip to Portugal. He added: “This is an excellent opportunity for Carl to develop further as a referee and his selection is a well-deserved reward for his commitment to Durham FA Referee’s Academy this season.”

Bishop Auckland College offers a range of sport courses including higher education qualifications. For more information on these and other courses visit bacoll.ac.uk or attend the next open evening from 5.30pm to 7.30pm on Tuesday March 26th at the main Bishop Auckland campus, where advice will be offered on all courses and training including apprenticeships.