This story originally appeared in Mile High Sports Magazine. Read the full digital edition.

Refereeing is often a thankless job, no matter your age or qualifications.

When your age prevents you from voting, onlookers (i.e., overzealous parents) might be tempted to question your qualifications.

Make no mistake, though. Colleen Tyrrell and Justin Brells are two of the best soccer referees in the state of Colorado, even if they only recently acquired their driver’s licenses.

Colorado Soccer Association (, is a non-profit educational and service organization that oversees Colorado soccer, benefits players and members, advances and honors the game by providing critical infrastructure and promoting sportsmanship and fair play in a safe and enjoyable environment. Each year, CSA honors referees across the state that serve as leaders and caretakers of the game. The Young Referee of the Year awards recognize individuals that have a strong work ethic, knowledge of the rules of the game and are positive role models.

Tyrrell and Brells were recently presented the prestigious award at the annual CSA MVP Dinner and Awards Banquet, which recognized more than 130 coaches, referees and players statewide.

Tyrrell was first certified in 2011 at the age of 10, helping her father (who is also a referee). She has since gone on to officiate at some of the biggest events in Colorado and Region IV. Over the past seven years, she has traveled as a referee to two Region IV Presidents Cups and officiated at numerous Colorado State and Presidents Cups. When she isn’t on the fields as a referee, she serves as captain of her team at St. Vrain FC, plays for her high school team at Silver Creek High and plays in the Olympic Development Program.

Brells began refereeing in 2013 and quickly put together a résumé fitting for someone twice his age, having officiated NPL matches, Far West Regionals, ECNL and Colorado State and Presidents Cup matches. He started playing soccer at only 4 years old and currently plays for the Real Colorado Olympico team and the varsity team at Thunder Ridge High School. He also serves as manager of the girls’ varsity team at Thunder Ridge.

The future is wide open for these two. So don’t expect age to hold them back – on the pitch or elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of Colorado Soccer Association