Kathryn Nesbitt becomes the first woman to referee a MLS Cup Final
Nesbitt was the assistant referee for the 2020 MLS Cup Final between Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders on 12 December at MAPFRE stadium.
It has been quite a year for Kathryn Nesbitt. In November she was named the 2020 MLS Assistant Referee of the Year. She became the first female official to earn such recognition in any of the five North American men’s professional sports leagues.
Such is her reputation, as soon as the final between Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders was announced, Kathryn Nesbitt was named as one of the assistant referees. It was the first time in Major League History that a women has officiated a men’s championship match.
Nesbitt was introduced to the MLS in 2015 and she was selected for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France. She is amongst the group of 10 women officials that have made their way to the Major League Soccer and this season she made 74 appearances.
Saturday's game was her second final because she made a breakthrough in the final match of the MLS is Back tournament, becoming the first woman to appear in the final of an MLS tournament. Nesbitt was accompanied by Jair Marrufo, the match official and overseeing his third MLS Cup final.