MIAMI, Florida – Concacaf referees achieved milestones far and wide at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
A total of eighteen referees from the Concacaf region worked in an officiating capacity during the tournament, including the historic appointment of two women as Assistant Referees, the first time ever during a Senior Men’s World Cup.
Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico was part of a history-making crew for the Germany-Costa Rica match in Group E, with Diaz serving as an Assistant Referee on the first ever all-female refereeing trio to take charge of a Senior Men’s World Cup match.
Diaz was one of six women referees at the World Cup, along with Kathryn Nesbitt of the United States, who worked as one of the Assistant Video Assistant Referees in the Germany-Costa Rica contests. Nesbitt was designated as the Offside VAR.
Match officials Kathryn Nesbit and Ismail Elfath (left) pose for a photo during the awards ceremony after the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.
Nesbitt would go on to serve as an Assistant Referee during the Round of 16 match-up between England and Senegal.
There were four Concacaf referees who were selected as Head Referees during the tournament: Ivan Barton (El Salvador), Ismail Elfath (United States), Mario Escobar (Guatemala), Said Martinez (Honduras) and Cesar Arturo Ramos (Mexico).
For Barton, Elfath and Escobar, it was their first ever time refereeing in a Senior Men’s World Cup, while Ramos made his second Senior Men’s World Cup appearance after refereeing three matches at Russia 2018.
Ramos became just the third Concacaf referee to officiate a World Cup semifinal, as he was on the whistle for France’s 2-0 win versus Morocco. Ramos was the Head Referee in four matches, Elfath and Barton each had three matches as Head Referee, while Escobar was Head Referee in one match and Martinez worked in nine matches as the Fourth Official.
Overall, 14 of the 18 Concacaf referees made their Senior Men’s World Cup debut at Qatar 2022.
Concacaf referee also had a strong presence in Sunday’s Final between France and Argentina. Ismail Elfath of the United States worked as the Fourth Official, while Nesbitt was selected as the Reserve Assistant Referee. Fernando Guerrero of Mexico and Kyle Atkins of the U.S. served as Assistant Video Assistant Referees, while Corey Parker of the U.S. was the Stand-By Assistant Video Assistant Referee.
Armando Villarreal of the U.S. worked the most games with 12, as he served as the VAR in one match, the Assistant VAR in six matches and five matches as the Support VAR. Drew Fischer of Canada also reached the double-digit plateau, working eight matches as a VAR, two as an Assistant VAR and one as a Support VAR.