Football South Australia is thrilled to showcase the remarkable accomplishments of two extraordinary South Australian match officials, Daniel Elder and Daniel Cook. These dedicated individuals have risen through the ranks, with Elder securing a coveted professional referee position with Football Australia, and Cook earning a prestigious spot in the AFC Academy.
Daniel Elder's journey in the world of refereeing commenced in 2008, when he first held a whistle. Just three years later, in 2011, he took his place as a senior referee, marking the commencement into the senior refereeing group.
Daniel Elder, Refereeing 2013
Elder boasts a remarkable record, having presided over 181 senior men's matches, with an astounding 111 of those taking place in the highly competitive National Premier League South Australia (NPLSA).
His illustrious track record includes officiating three NPL SA Grand Finals in 2015, 2016, and 2017, as well as the 2019 Federation Cup Final. Furthermore, Elder has been named Mike Ingham Referee of the Year on four occasions (2015, 2016, 2017, and 2020).
Elder's remarkable development has seen him officiate his first national match in 2016, culminating in being awarded his FIFA badge in 2022, and has since gone onto officiating numerous International matches.
Daniel Elder with FIFA Badge officiating in the Isuzu Ute A-League
At a local level, Elder serves as the Lead Instructor of the Football South Australia Referee Academy, an initiative designed to offer promising young match officials specialised training and coaching.
In 2008, Daniel Cook embarked on his stellar refereeing career, eventually officiating his first senior men's match five years later.
Daniel Cook as an Assistant Referee, 2013
Cook's illustrious career includes overseeing 199 Senior Men's matches as a referee, with an impressive 128 of them taking place in the NPL SA, a feat that earned him the distinction of being the sixth referee to reach 100 NPL SA games. Cook has notably taken charge of five NPL SA Grand Finals (2018, 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023), setting a record in the modern era. Additionally, he has officiated two Federation Cup finals in 2016 and 2018.
His exceptional performances have led to numerous accolades, starting with the Referee Rising Star award in 2014. He was then recognised as the Young Referee of the Year for two consecutive years in 2015 and 2016. Cook's consistent excellence is evident in his four-time Referee of the Year titles (2018, 2019, 2022, 2023).
Daniel Cook refereeing in the RAA NPLSA
In a remarkable achievement, Daniel Cook has been inducted into the AFC Referee Academy as part of Batch 5 (2023). The AFC Referee Academy is a prestigious three-year program, signifying a significant leap forward in the development of future elite match officials.
Michelle Smith, Football SA General Manager of Referee Education, Training, and Compliance, attributes both Cook and Elders success to the robust development pathways provided by Football South Australia, saying,
Both Daniel Cook and Daniel Elder are shinning examples of referees who started their careers at a grassroots level and developed through our pathways. Our development pathways have been crucial in nurturing talents like Elder and Cook, allowing them to shine on the national and international stage.
Football South Australia takes immense pride in celebrating the remarkable achievements of both Daniel Elder and Daniel Cook. These highly respected referees began their journeys with the Level 4 course, and their success stories serve as inspiration to aspiring match officials. If you're looking to kick-start your own refereeing journey, don't hesitate to register for our next Level 4 course today. Your path to success could be a click away!