MLS Assistant Referee of the Year Kathryn Nesbitt to become first woman to officiate a Concacaf Men’s World Cup Qualifier

Kathryn Nesbitt has added another impressive milestone to a growing list of accomplishments. The 2020 MLS Assistant Referee of the Year will become the first woman official to work a World Cup qualifying match in the Concacaf region when she’s on the touchline for Canada vs. Bermuda at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Thursday.

She will be the first of four female officials to earn first-round assignments.

“Katy fits the profile of an international match official,” said Rick Eddy, U.S. Soccer’s Director of Referee Development. “She has performed at a high level in the domestic and international arenas and her accomplishments on the pitch speak for themselves. Another of her top qualities is how she gives back to the game. Katy has attended youth events on behalf of U.S. Soccer to act as an instructor and referee coach. The officials she has mentored all speak of how their game has improved because of ideas she gives them. Katy is clearly one of the top assistant referees in the world.”

Nesbitt, who last month became the first woman to officiate a Concacaf League final, was also a referee at the 2016 and 2020 women's Olympic qualifying tournaments, and additionally was a referee at the 2019 women's World Cup.

During the 2020 season, Nesbitt became the first woman to officiate an MLS final during last summer's MLS is Back Tournament, and followed that up with an assignment at MLS Cup. As a result, she became the first woman to referee the championship match in a major men's professional sports league in North America en route to becoming the first woman to win MLS Assistant Referee of the Year.

On March 27, Jennifer Garner will be an assistant referee and Tori Penso the fourth official for Aruba vs. Suriname at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., while Nesbitt will run a line for the Anguilla vs. Dominican Republic match that will be played at Inter Miami CF Stadium.

A day later, Brooke Mayo will be an assistant referee and Penso will be the fourth official for Cayman Islands vs. Canada.

Nesbitt received her FIFA badge in 2016, Garner and Mayo received their FIFA badges in 2018 and Penso received her FIFA badge this year.