Despite never having played the game, Learmont was a quick student of the rules and took to refereeing in her 20’s, taking up the challenge when her husband was studying to become a referee. It’s a passion which spanned 3 decades.
Born in Perth in 1947, Marilyn Learmont was the first West Australian female to land in the male domain of refereeing in the late 1970’s. A time when traditional female roles did not include officiating male soccer games and which brought some interesting changeroom scenarios!
Clearly showing the right skills and aptitude, Learmont graduated quickly from refereeing school soccer to refereeing and running the line in the men’s State League Second Division and top flight soccer.
In 1992 Learmont became the first woman to officiate at national league level by running the line in the West Adelaide-Brisbane United game. She was linesperson for the 1992 ‘B’ international between Western Australia and Shelbourne, and the Australia and Brazil youth international later that year.
She was Australia’s first-choice nomination for the 1991 women’s World Cup finals in China, a role which unfortunately didn’t eventuate due to Australia not making the finals and retired after being involved in the 1995 D’Orsogna Cup final.
Learmont was recognised for her services to the sport and inducted into the Football Hall of Fame Western Australia in 2005. She has family ties to the Woodfin family, via her daughter in law, Stacey Learmont (Woodfin), who has a great footballing pedigree with her link to Queens Park Soccer Club and Western Waves, plus the extended family (grand children) are now playing football.
Photo refereeing and profile information courtesy Marilyn Learmont.
Profile shot Marilyn Learmont courtesy WA State Library Game Changers Exhibition 2023.