Asfordby official John Brooks could soon be running the line for Messi and Ronaldo after being handpicked by FIFA to join an elite list.
John will be appointed to European matches in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League following his promotion to the FIFA List of Assistant Referees on New Year’s Day.
The 24-year-old is among the youngest assistant refs chosen to officiate by world football’s governing body and will also be eligible to work at international tournaments.
It has been a meteoric rise from his fledgling days in Leicestershire grassroots football where John began refereeing just 10 years ago.
Quickly progressing through the Supply Leagues and Contributory Leagues system, he earned promotion to the National List of Assistant Referees in 2011.
The following season John was invited to join the Select Group of Assistant Referees, allowing him to work in the Premier League.
Last season he officiated at several major matches including the Premier League visits of Liverpool and Chelsea to champions Manchester City as well as last season’s Championship play-off final at Wembley.
Most recently John covered last weekend’s televised FA Cup tie between Yeovil and Manchester United.
He is also working his way up through the ranks as the man in the middle and this season was promoted to referee at Level 2A, taking charge of matches in the Conference.
Redmile referee Gordon Wells, former chairman of the County FA Referees Committee, recalled John as an assistant to him in the Leics Midweek Floodlit Youth League.
He said: “He has progressed very well and very quickly.
“We officiated together during his very early days and you could see the potential in him. He was very confident in his approach, his manner was excellent and you could see, if he maintained and committed himself to it, he would have a good future in front of him.
“I see him occasionally and his feet are still on the ground and his roots very much remain in the Melton area.”
Leicestershire and Rutland FA referee development officer Steve Bratt added: “Everybody at Holmes Park would like to wish John all the very best and continued success.
“We are sure he will continue to act as a positive role model for all referees within Leicestershire and Rutland.”