2014 Don Morrison Referee Fund Scholarship Recipients selected

USA Rugby is proud to announce the 2014 recipients of the Don Morrison Scholarship: Emily Hsieh, Kahlil Harrison, and Gavin McCandles. The Morrison Fund was established in the name of one of USA Rugby’s most accomplished referees and long-time administrators, Don Morrison. Through the scholarship, aspiring referees ages 18-25 have the opportunity to learn and to train at an international level. Emily Hsieh from the New England society and Kahlil Harrison from the Florida society have been selected to travel to South Africa to attend the Maties Camp in Stellenbosch March 17th until May 17th. Emily and Kahlil will participate in a completely immersive referee school at the academy. They will be housed, fed, trained and tested on all aspects of refereeing. As they develop, they will have the opportunity to advance in levels.

Gavin McCandless from the Eastern Penn society has been selected to go to Christchurch, New Zealand where he will spend an entire season participating as a full time member of the Canterbury Referee Association and being fully immersed in the culture. During his three months, he will be assigned a coach, referee tier 1 matches throughout the season, attend weekly meetings, and have opportunities to participate in trainings and to attend international matches. Gavin has been involved in the sport of rugby as long as he can remember watching his parents and siblings play as a young child. He started playing rugby at 11 and has been refereeing for the past five years. While refereeing, he has been a part of many high level games including Division 1 men’s games, the New York 7’s, the Ambassadors Cup, and the College Rugby Championships. Gavin is thrilled to be selected for a DMRF scholarship. “Going to New Zealand will help my refereeing, because players will be able to challenge my knowledge of the game since they will have been around the game as long as I have been.” Gavin aspires to become one of the best referees in the world and be recognized as an IRB panel referee. Aware of the vast amounts of high level competition in New Zealand, Gavin is looking forward to the knowledge and training he will receive by working with the Canterbury Referee Society.

This is the second year the scholarship has been available. Last year, Amelia Luciano was chosen as the first recipient of the scholarship and spent the entire season in Christchurch training and officiating with the Canterbury Referee Association. When asked to describe her experience Amelia says, “As far as my refereeing goes, I am much more confident now with thicker skin, and I have a better on-field personality. I was humbled by all the amazing referees I met while I was there, including a handful who have refereed many tests, Super Rugby games, TMOed and those who are still instrumental in organizing local rugby. All in all, it was a once in a lifetime experience to become a Canterbury referee for a season.”

The Don Morrison Referee Fund is made possible through financial contributions from donors like you. If you are interested in the work being done through the Don Morrison Referee Fund, please consider making a donation.