Football Official and Events Management Volunteer
Liam is a first year Aeronautical Engineering student who started volunteering through football officiating and has now gone on to officiate IMS, BUCS and general University level competitions. Alongside this he has volunteered in events management at large events such as Loughborough’s Cycling Festival and Loughborough International Athletics Event.
Tell us a little bit about yourself (hobbies, interests and background):
My name is Liam Murgatroyd and I’m an international student (having attended school in Singapore) at Loughborough University. At the time of writing, I have just completed my first year of university as an undergraduate student studying Aeronautical Engineering! I grew up and went to school in Southeast Asia before attending Loughborough University to be closer to my Mom’s side of the family in Wales. In tune with my degree, I’ve always had a fascination with aircraft - I consider the airport to be my second home, and direct involvement in the aviation industry has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. To take it back down to earth (literally), I’m a sport-lover and will jump at the chance to get active in any way I can - in particular, I’ve had the strongest affinity with the sports of badminton and football. When it boils down to it, my life-long passion has been primarily for football; I’m a huge Liverpool fan and have played since the day I could kick a ball. It’s this love that directed me towards volunteering through football officiating! I’ve always been on the playing side, but it was an opportunity and experience that I decided I wanted to take and that launched me into sport volunteering at Loughborough!
How did you first get involved in volunteering within sport at Loughborough?
In my first few weeks at university, I received a notification on my hall’s Facebook events page about an opportunity to train as a certified referee to support IMS games for the year. I wanted to get active and involved and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. Little did I know, this would springboard me into a refereeing career that kickstarted my involvement in sport volunteering at Loughborough and is something I will continue to pursue outside of University as I seek promotion for this coming year.
During your years at Loughborough what have you got involved in through volunteering within sport?
I’ve been involved in two main sections of volunteering within sport at Loughborough: football officiating and event support/management volunteering. While the vast majority of my year was dedicated to officiating in the footballing world, I was able to involve myself in activities spanning from Loughborough’s Cycling Festival to the Loughborough International Athletics Event. In both events I was directly involved in support and setup, as well as active participation roles on the days of the events (from marshalling, to athlete support). For the officiating, I refereed football almost every week for IMS, BUCS, and general University competition matches, as well as attended training and seminars to improve officiating at Loughborough and my own skill set.
What has your experience volunteering been like whilst at Loughborough?
Nothing short of fantastic! Every activity I’ve been involved in has consisted of leaders and volunteers who have been nothing but supportive, welcoming, and kind. I’ve felt that there was someone there for me every step of the way during my refereeing career this past year, helping me develop and grow my confidence both on and off the field. Not to mention the single-day sporting events I volunteered at, in which countless community leaders, athletes, and fellow volunteers worked side-by-side to contribute to a small piece of the spectacle that is sport at Loughborough University. The amount of learning, professional involvement, and genuine outright fun that I’ve been able to have during those days is indescribable. It’s this sense of community and camaraderie, paired with the sheer quality of the events and facilities on offer at Loughborough University that make it hard to put into words the positive and truly enjoyable nature of volunteering opportunities available to students. I can say nothing more than: if you’re interested, get out there and give it a go yourself, because no matter what you get involved with, and for no matter how long, you will not regret it.
How has being involved with Loughborough Sport helped you develop and progress (personally and professionally)?
Fundamentally, it’s given me the chance to be involved in events and activities that I wouldn’t have access to anywhere else. In a professional sense, the university offers experiences and draws competitions that are of the highest calibre. Their facilities, staff, and student volunteers are the best in the business, and this translates directly to the opportunities they’re able to provide. In my first year refereeing, I’ve had the honour and pleasure of officiating in matches that have involved Women’s Super League and Premier League reserve squads and youth teams, as well as university cup ties and English divisional matches and friendlies. I’ve volunteered in events that have drawn world-class athletes both internationally and locally (many of whom are our very own astounding Loughborough athletes). These have been facilitated by teams of seasoned professionals whose guidance has provided me with experience of the highest level that I will be able to take forward with me wherever I go in life. On the personal side of things, between refereeing and volunteering in event support and management, I’ve been able to grow my confidence, outreach amongst peers, understanding of the inner workings of sport at Loughborough, and friendships around the university. I feel a much more personal connection both to the community and the university as a whole because of the volunteering I’ve been able to partake in, and I’ve realized passions and hobbies that I never would have thought about before attending university here at Loughborough.
What’s the best advice you could give to a Loughborough student looking to get involved in volunteering & gain the most out of their university experiences?
Take the opportunities that are available to you because the University experience doesn’t last forever, and at an incredible institution such as Loughborough, the roles, events, and training on offer are nothing short of world class. It can be so difficult to take that first step, to sign up for a class, to get involved in a sport, to participate in an event, but I urge anyone who’s just finding their feet to give it a go. The experience is something that will introduce you to a new environment, amazing people, and who knows, it might just become a new passion or hobby of yours. Sport volunteering is something that helped me find a community at Loughborough University, it made me feel properly settled for the first time in my transition, and it introduced me to friends who I’ll have for the rest of my time at university and beyond! So, if it’s something you’re interested in (and even if it’s something you’re not sure about), my advice is to choose a couple of things to get involved in, and go for it - regardless of the outcome, it’s something that you won’t ever forget, and may end up lasting a lifetime!
Finally, what do you enjoy most about volunteering?
Without a doubt, what I enjoy most is the opportunity you get to meet and connect with new people! The volunteering community at Loughborough has been nothing but welcoming, and I’ve had the pleasure of working with countless members of the University and beyond. I’ve forged friendships, met role models, integrated into a community, and been involved in roles I never saw myself in before coming to Loughborough, all while contributing to the incredible sporting spirit at the university. To anyone who wishes to get involved, volunteering will give you a sense of belonging which you will benefit from and cherish long after your time at the university is over. It’s something I will continue to pursue for the rest of my time here.