Nembhard dreams of officiating at World Cup
With youth on his side and a passion for refereeing, 26-year-old Veralton Nembhard is looking to be a top international football middleman and officiate in future World Cup Finals.
He appears to be on his way towards that goal after becoming the youngest CONCACAF official ever to receive an International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) referee's badge last Saturday.
Jamaica Football Federation president, Captain Horace Burrell, presented Nembhard with his award at the Waterhouse Mini Stadium, during the half-time break of the Jamaica vs Cuba Under-20 practice match, which the young Reggae Boyz won 2-1.
Coincidentally, the match was Nembhard's first international fixture.
Despite this being his first year on the international scene, he is proud of his achievements.
"I think I have the experience and quality for international matches now. I will give of my best, as my dream is to referee at the World Cup Finals," Nembhard told The Gleaner.
FIFA currently awards referees a badge up to 26 years of age, while assistants are certified at 24. This makes Nembhard the youngest in CONCACAF and the world currently.
"We have been doing well internationally as Jamaican referees, despite criticism. Even when I blunder, I take my criticisms and try to improve my game," he noted.
He is hoping to represent CONCACAF at the highest level.
"Our region has been officiating well internationally and I want to continue that for years to come," he added.
"I will be working as hard as I can to maintain FIFA's faith shown in me," Nembhard said.
CONCACF's top referee award recently went to Mark Geiger of the USA, while local FIFA official Dwight Royal was a nominee.
Nembhard said his motivation to excel comes from his father Texchus Nembhard, who was a former referee. Others like Peter Prendergast, Dave Meikle and Victor Stewart, who are all are top Jamaican FIFA officials, encourage him.
Having been on the job nine years, he is ready for another big year.
Locally, he has officiated in six premier league matches so far this season, back to back daCosta Cup and Manning Cup finals, as well as Under-16 and Under-14 finals.