CARY, North Carolina –The 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship is off and running with three teams looking to qualify directly for the 2018 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
The tournament is also being used to evaluate the performances of referees, including Honduran Melissa Borjas, who was one of six female referees to represent Concacaf at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Borjas is happy to be back refereeing matches at the highest level in Concacaf and hopes to be selected to once again represent the region at a World Cup.
“It’s always exciting to participate in all of the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers, above all in the senior team tournament, where not only teams can qualify for the World Cup but also referees,” said Borjas in an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“My place at the 2019 World Cup in France is not assured but my preparation is being based on winning myself a place and once again representing Concacaf. It’s an arduous technical, physical and mental process day after day, month after month, but being at another World Cup is worth it,” added Borjas.
Also serving as an incentive for Borjas was her time in Canada four years ago. There is no doubt that the experience served as an important lesson in her career.
“To referee my first senior World Cup match was a great blessing and it allowed me to realize that what I was doing in my preparation was not sufficient to keep myself at that level and that I should work harder,” said Borjas.
Borjas also took a moment to praise the support that female referees have received from Concacaf, which has included the use of female referees in the Scotiabank Concacaf League and Concacaf Nations League.
“I think more than an initiative, it’s a show of support for the arduous work that we do daily and above all it shows that women are capable of refereeing men’s matches,” said Borjas.
Refereeing a men’s match is nothing new for Borjas, however. The 31-year-old has been on the whistle for matches in Honduran Liga Nacional, which she feels has improved her refereeing skills.
“Refereeing men’s matches me allows me to strengthen my personality and broaden my knowledge in regards to style of play or tactics of teams and preparing myself for each match. The truth is that calling men’s matches has a great physical demand but now it is no longer very different than women’s football because it has developed and advanced very quickly,” said Borjas.
Yet none of what female referees worldwide have accomplished could have come without the support of FIFA’s Senior Head of Refereeing, Kari Seitz, who Borjas praised for her efforts in helping female referees take the next step in their careers in world football.
“FIFA is working very closely with each one of the confederations so that they support women’s referees on all levels. Kari Seitz has visited the most important tournaments or qualifiers of each confederation to get to know and follow up on referees and so that shows the direct support that FIFA has for women’s refereeing,” concluded Borjas.