Suffolk brothers make umpiring history

Suffolk brothers make umpiring history
In early 2020, brothers Jake and Isaac Charles became the first siblings to be appointed to the same match in the English Hockey Leagues and have now achieved the highest umpiring rank in the game.

The pair have been awarded FIH Umpiring Status after undergoing an arduous process, which can take anywhere from 3-7 years, with less than 0.1% of people who take up umpiring making it to this level.

Earlier this year, we caught up with the brothers to get an insight into their journey to the top level of umpiring…

Jake & Isaac Charles

“I started umpiring when I was 9 years old after watching my brother trying it out and seeing how he enjoyed it. So aged 12 (exactly, thanks dad for running a course on my birthday) I sat and passed my level 1 to begin umpiring adults! 

“Our key inspirations came from a variety of experienced umpires and coaches. As well as Barry Anderson, a lot of thanks and credit must go to John Seabrook, who sadly didn't make it to see his promise of myself and Jake officiating at a European tournament. 

“From there, Jake and I started a competition of seeing how far we could go within umpiring.  Once I got into National League things started to change. Jake and I became more mature and realised that the competitive nature wasn’t going to help our progression, so we instead worked to support each other to succeed. 

“To be given the chance to umpire with Jake was a pretty great experience. We hadn't managed to umpire outdoor competitively since I was a level 1, so to be able to do it in a National League Division 1 game was a special occasion, the feeling of John watching down on us ready to offer some feedback was definitely there! To then do it again in Cambridge showed the trust and belief the NPUA showed to us that we have moved on from our rivalry and more towards a team.”

Jake Charles:
“We're both competitive in everything we do and the opportunity to become better with the support of a sibling is massive for me. We go all over the place, but it feels like home when the other one messages you, knowing they're watching and will be the first to help talk over a decision, incident or even give feedback. 

“We have grown as umpires and as brothers. Now instead of competitiveness or jealousy it’s compromise, support and brotherly desire for each other to get the appointments and games that we want. 

“Going into games, tournaments or weekends of indoor action, we both think about those who have been a major part of our journey. Our father was the one who introduced us both to umpiring and our mother took us all over the country for appointments or silly times in the morning to get early flights.”

If you want to get involved with umpiring click HERE, or visit the Hockey Hub for information on how to start your journey, or alternatively contact to be put in touch with your nearest Umpiring Association.