Qatar 2022: Kathryn Nesbitt’s remarkable journey from analytical chemist to FIFA World Cup refereeing list


Katherine Nesbitt’s journey from an analytical chemist to making a name for herself in the profession of referee is incredible, to say the least. The US-based referee hit the headlines when she became the first woman to referee a championship match in a professional men’s sport in North America last December. She took to the field for the MLS Cup match between the Columbus Crew and the Seattle Sounders. However, his refereeing journey began at the age of just 14 and his love for chemistry soon followed. The way she managed both of them while making her way is inspiring in itself.

“Everyone has their own path,” Nesbitt, who was named the 2020 MLS Assistant Referee of the Year, told FIFA.com. “I started as a kid as a summer job, and it kept me involved in soccer and eventually kept me involved in sports. I loved being active. It can also be competitive in itself, so it was great for me to have those opportunities to try to be the best at something in an athletic form, so it really motivated me to keep going with it.

Read more – For the first time in history, a female referee will officiate at the Men’s World Cup

Kathryn Nesbitt dips into chemistry

Nesbitt’s passion is not limited to football alone. It also extends into analytical chemistry and teaching. He further explained how he traveled from a chemistry professor to a top official. “I was a chemistry professor till two weeks before the Women’s World Cup in 2019. I spent ten years doing my research and starting my own lab at the university (Towson University in Baltimore). My research background is in finding better ways to analyze brain chemicals, and our lab has focused on developing, improving and optimizing techniques for sampling and then analyzing brain chemicals.

academic background

In 2010, Katherine Nesbitt graduated from St. John Fisher College, Rochester with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Then she went to the University of Pittsburgh to pursue her PhD in Chemistry in 2015. This was the same year he made his Major League Soccer debut as an assistant referee in a match between DC United and the Columbus Crew. Then in 2017, she became an assistant professor at Towson University, Maryland.

Nesbitt spoke of how his analytical personality has helped his progress as an assistant referee, with Nesbitt saying, “Especially for me, you’re constantly making decisions and they’re not always black and white. It’s a It’s about being able to take in a lot of data in time – how the tackle actually happened, player reaction, what’s going on in the game – and making the best decisions. The referees are also incredibly dedicated to their role. We Takes the game as seriously as the players. Our preparation is actually pretty similar to what they are doing.”

“There are black and white decisions. A defender pulling down an attacker who is five feet from goal is always going to deny him an opportunity to score, but that’s never really how these things go. And a football landscape is never going to be exactly the same again. The game is always changing. My main role as an assistant referee is the offside rule, and it’s not always as black and white as it sometimes seems.”

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When was his professional debut?

Kathryn Nesbitt made her professional debut in 2013. It was the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) match between FC Kansas City and the Portland Thorns in front of a large crowd. For the first time, the upcoming World Cup to be held in Qatar from November 21 to December 18 will have three female referees and three assistant referees. The women officials are Stéphanie Frappart from France, Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan. The assistant referees are Nuza Back from Brazil, Karen Diaz Medina from Mexico and Nesbitt from the United States.

Being a referee is a tougher job than one might imagine, and when there is a small error, everyone calls it out. While his positive actions go unnoticed, his mistakes are exposed extensively. Nesbitt is well aware of the referee’s perception and says he is as upset as anyone when a mistake is made. “We understand we’ll be the bad guy,” he said. “When mistakes happen, it is always a human characteristic of us. Referees try to be the best we can be for the game and we want to be the best at what we do. When there is a mistake, we are upset like everyone else .



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