13 August 2020

Kathryn Nesbitt becomes first female referee in MLS history to officiate title match

Major League Soccer has made history with the first woman to referee a final. 

Kathryn Nesbitt was the assistant referee as the Portland Timbers won the MLS Is Back title 2-1 against Orlando City at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida.

Nesbitt started refereeing when she was 14 years-old and worked at the 2016 under-17 Women’s World Cup and the 2018 under-20 World Cup. 

In 2017 she became the first female to officiate an MLS playoff game and was a reserve assistant referee for the 2018 MLS Cup.

 She also refereed at the Women’s World Cup last year in France.

Nesbitt said: “I think that the entire referee group here worked incredibly hard to have strong performances and to be named to the final means that you’ve had a strong performance and really shown what you’re worth here.

“It’s honestly a huge honour to have made it this far and to be on the field for that final game.”

Nesbitt is hoping she can pave the way to inspire other women in her industry to dream big. 

She added: "I like to think that there are some referees out there that look up to me.

 “And I’m I’m really hopeful that I’m putting out a good example and emanating qualities that other officials hope to achieve someday.”

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