Getting recruited to college soccer is a serious game

Learn about our player profiles here
+ ADD A PLAYER
National Teams Dec 18, 2022

U.S. Soccer referees to officiate FIFA World Cup Final for first time in history

CHICAGO – As the 2022 FIFA World Cup draws to a close this weekend, the five U.S. Soccer referees appointed for the global stage have shined at the highest level, having been assigned 35 times to officiate at a total of 22 different matches during the tournament, and for the first time ever four U.S. Soccer referees will work the FIFA World Cup Final.

Referee Ismail Elfath, assistant referees Kyle AtkinsKathryn Nesbitt and Corey Parker as well as Video Assistant Referee Armando Villarreal were part of the 36 referees, 69 assistant referees and 24 video match officials that worked games in Qatar. For the Final on Sunday, Elfath will serve as Fourth Official and Atkins will serve as assistant Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for Argentina-France, while Nesbitt and Parker have been assigned Reserve VAR and Reserve AVAR duties, respectively.

Breaking other barriers, Nesbitt was one of six female referees selected to officiate at the men’s World Cup for the first time. She proudly represented the United States in eight matches, including the historic match between Costa Rica and Germany that was officiated by an all-female crew for the first time in the history of the World Cup. Nesbitt was the offside video assistant referee, joining France’s Stéphanie Frappart, Brazil’s Neuza Back and Mexico’s Karen Diaz.

“At U.S. Soccer, we strive to grow the game in all its capacities. As a long-time member of the referee community, I couldn’t be prouder to see Americans officiating on soccer’s grandest stage,” said U.S. Soccer CEO and Secretary General JT Batson. “Watching Esse Baharmast on the field at the 1998 World Cup inspired my time as a referee. I hope folks across the country are similarly inspired as they’ve watched our officials throughout this World Cup and seen the amazing heights that our U.S. Soccer Referee Program can reach.”

When Elfath takes the field on Sunday for the Final as the fourth official it will be his fourth assignment of the tournament, having manned Portugal vs. Ghana in the opening round, and Cameroon vs. Brazil and Japan vs. Costa Rica in the Round of 16.

Villarreal also served as Support VAR in the third-place match between Croatia and Morocco on Saturday, which ended in a 2-1 win for Croatia.

Atkins will be earning his seventh assignment when he serves as the assistant VAR for the Final. Earlier in the tournament he served as an assistant referee for the same three matches where Elfath was in the middle, and was the assistant VAR for three first round matches.

Parker joined Atkins as the other assistant referee for the three matches with Elfath, and also was assigned as a Offside VAR for a match. Villareal was assigned the most matches with 12 total, all as either the VAR, assistant VAR or support VAR.

“I am so proud of the U.S. Soccer referees who are representing our country and our Federation so well at the Men’s World Cup,” said U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone. “I am especially proud that Kathryn Nesbitt was chosen as one of the first ever female referees for a men’s World Cup tournament. And, it is so great to see four of our officials representing the United States during Sunday’s World Cup Final.”

FIFA selected 129 top match officials from all six confederations to referee at the World Cup based on their quality and performances at other FIFA tournaments as well as other international and domestic competitions. The selected officials are five of 31 U.S. Soccer referees that are part of the 2022 FIFA Panel, the world’s highest level of officiating. Selection grants the 31 officials the opportunity to referee at the highest levels of international soccer.

U.S. Soccer’s Referee Program works to support the approximately 140,000 members across the country that service amateur games at both the youth and adult levels. High quality instruction provided by 55 State Referee Associations is essential to U.S. Soccer’s success. For more information on referee education, visit the U.S. Soccer Learning Center.

If you’re interested in registering as a first-time referee, go to U.S. Soccer’s Learning Center to find more information. You may also search for courses in the Learning Center under Courses/Available Courses/First Time Grassroots. You can also sign up for a Grassroots Referee license with your State Referee Committee. Contact information for each SRC is linked here.

KYLE ATKINS

  • 4 years as a FIFA referee
  • 21 years of experience as a US Soccer licensed official total
  • Current License Held: FIFA Assistant Referee & FIFA VMO
  • 7 assignments in Qatar WC
  • Olathe, Kan.

ISMAIL ELFATH

  • 7 years as a FIFA referee
  • 17 years of experience as a US Soccer licensed official total
  • Current License Held: FIFA Referee & FIFA VMO
  • 4 assignments in Qatar WC
  • Austin, Texas

KATHRYN NESBITT

  • 7 years as a FIFA referee
  • 18 years of experience as a US Soccer licensed official total
  • Current License Held: FIFA Assistant Referee & PRO VMO
  • 8 assignments in Qatar WC
  • Rochester, N.Y.

COREY PARKER

  • 6 years as a FIFA referee
  • 23 years of experience as a US Soccer licensed official total
  • Current License Held: FIFA Assistant Referee & PRO VMO
  • 4 assignments in Qatar WC
  • Edinboro, Pa.

ARMANDO VILLARREAL

  • 8 years as a FIFA referee
  • 17 years of experience as a US Soccer licensed official total
  • Current License Held: FIFA Video Match Official & PRO VMO
  • 12 assignments in Qatar WC
  • San Antonio, Texas

U.S. SOCCER REFEREE ASSIGNMENTS AT THE 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP

Match 5: France vs. Australia
Offside VR: Atkins

Match 6: Denmark vs. Tunisia
AVAR: Villarreal

Match 11: Germany vs. Japan
AVAR: Villarreal
Offside VR: Nesbitt

Match 15: Portugal vs. Ghana
Referee: Elfath
Assistant Referee 1: Atkins
Assistant Referee 2: Parker
VAR: Villarreal

Match 21: Tunisia vs. Australia
Offside VR: Parker

Match 22: Poland vs. Saudi Arabia
AVAR: Villarreal

Match 26: Belgium vs. Morocco
Offside VAR: Nesbitt
Support VAR: Villarreal

Match 30: Korea Republic vs. Ghana
Offside VAR: Atkins

Match 31: Brazil vs. Switzerland
AVAR: Villarreal
Offside VAR: Nesbitt

Match 39: Poland vs. Argentina
Offside VAR: Nesbitt

Match 43: Japan vs. Spain
AVAR: Villarreal
Offside VAR: Atkins

Match 44: Costa Rica vs. Germany
Offside VAR: Nesbitt

Match 46: Korea Republic vs. Portugal
Support VAR: Villarreal

Match 48: Cameroon vs. Brazil – Round of 16
Referee: Elfath
Assistant Referee 1: Atkins
Assistant Referee 2: Parker

Match 51: England vs. Senegal – Round of 16
Assistant Referee 2: Nesbitt
AVAR: Villarreal

Match 53: Japan vs. Croatia – Round of 16
Referee: Elfath
Assistant Referee 1: Atkins
Assistant Referee 2: Parker

Match 58: Croatia vs. Brazil – Quarterfinal
Offside VAR: Nesbitt

Match 60: Morocco vs. Portugal – Quarterfinal
Support VAR: Villarreal

Match 61: Argentina vs. Croatia – Semifinal
Offside VAR: Nesbitt

Match 62: France vs. Morocco – Semifinal
Support VAR: Villarreal

Match 63: Croatia vs. Morocco – Third Place Match
Support VAR: Villarreal

Match 64: Argentina vs. France – Final
Fourth Official: Elfath
Offside VAR: Atkins

Featured Players

Forward, Midfielder
See Commitment List