Footballers who play and referee at the same time are fairly rare – but certainly not unheard of.
Charley Smith, for instance, has been a ref and liner for eight years, and a player for much longer.
She officiates in both men’s and women’s matches, mainly on Saturdays or midweek, then has her Sundays free to play the game she loves.
Born on March 17, 1997, Caernarfon girl Charley is 24 today.
She has played in the Welsh Premier Women’s League for Caernarfon Town, represented Wales Colleges and over the past two seasons has worn the colours of Amlwch Town and The New Saints. Bethel is another one of her former clubs.
In 2018-19, she was part of the Amlwch women’s side which won its first-ever trophy when they landed the North Wales League Supplementary Cup with a 2-1 win over Wrexham at Rhyl.
Charley joined TNS of the FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands in summer 2019, but by November of that year she was back at Amlwch, helping them win the North Wales Women’s League Division Two title.
Earlier this year she became a coach at Bangor 1876 and has signed for the newly-formed women’s team.
A student nurse and a healthcare assistant, in 2014-15 Charley was a member of the Welsh Colleges squad which recorded a fantastic 8-0 win against England Colleges at St George’s Park and beat Australia Colleges 1-0 at USW.
Her team-mates included fellow North Walians Nia Jones (Coleg Menai), Alaw Davies-Smith (Deeside College), Ffion Mair Roberts (Coleg Menai), Amy Roberts (Coleg Menai) and Laura Turnbull (Yale College), as well as future Cardiff City FC Women star Shannon Evans.
In 2018, Charley made history as a match official. She was part of an all-women team which refereed a senior men’s match for the first time in Wales.
Charley, along with Laura Griffiths, Sian Williams and referee Cheryl Foster, officiated the Huws Gray Alliance Cup final in Ruthin between Flint Town United and Gresford Athletic.
It was the first occasion all four officials at a senior men’s game in Wales were women.
She has also refereed a Manchester United girls v Wales match.
Her brother Damien also plays football locally.