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American 1 of 6 female referees breaking barriers at World Cup

Kathryn Nesbitt
Posted at 8:03 AM, Dec 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-01 08:03:03-05

QATAR — The FIFA World Cup which comes every four years can be full of surprises such as countries debuting for the first time in years or young players breaking records. But this year’s World Cup in Qatar has been historical for women referees because they are making their mark for the first time ever.

One of the six that were called up to officiate was American referee, Kathryn Nesbitt. Nesbitt was born in New York and was a chemistry teacher. Growing up she had a big passion for sports, especially soccer and now she is breaking the stereotypical stigma of women in the sports world. Ever since she became a referee, she has been able to cover Minor League Soccer matches, Women’s World Cup games, and many more.

Nesbitt became the first female to referee a championship MLS match in Columbus, Ohio in 2020. It was between the Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders.

Her talent shined and was called up to the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup to officiate. Nesbitt debuted on November 23 in the Germany versus Japan match as a VAR official.

The other five officials joining Nesbitt are:

Stephanie Frappart - France

Yoshimi Yamashita - Japan

Salima Mukasanga- Rwanda

Neuza Back- Brazil

Karen Díaz Medina- Mexico

On Thursday, December 1, Frappart, Back, and Díaz will be the first female trio in World Cup history to referee a match. It will be between Germany and Costa Rica.

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