A university has teamed up with the Football Association to offer the country's first scholarship in refereeing.
Student Rodger Goodwin, aged 18, from Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire, is the first trainee to be accepted on to the scheme, which it is hoped will groom the next generation of referees.
He was presented with the essential tools of the trade - a whistle, yellow and red cards and a tracksuit - at the launch of the scholarship at the University of Gloucestershire yesterday.
The young referee will be trained to deal with aggressive players, study the laws of the game, and work on his speed, fitness and endurance during the scholarship.
The FA is even planning to send a TV crew down to some of his matches so he can watch his performance replayed in true Match Of The Day fashion.
Mr Goodwin, who started officiating games when he was just 14, will also have his own mentor, FA referee instructor Jim Harding.
The teenager, who will study his scholarship alongside a degree in sports education, has set his sights on becoming a Premiership referee.
And he insists that, after refereeing Sunday league matches, he would have no problem dealing with some of the English game's more outspoken players and managers.
He said: "Hopefully it wouldn't be too much a problem. I think refereeing park football games should put me in good stead for the professional game.
"And before you ask - yes, I have got good eyesight."
The scholarship is expected to last for the duration of Mr Goodwin's threeyear course.
The university, which launched a rugby referee scholarship last year, is hoping to take on more referees if the scheme proves a success.