Referee Katja Koroleva is expecting a high standard in NWSL this season, in what is an exciting year for women’s soccer worldwide.
Koroleva has been assigned to Friday’s NWSL season-opener between Houston Dash and Washington Spirit and she will be assisted by Cory Richardson and Jennifer Garner, with Kyle Phillips on fourth official duties.
The center referee says she is honored to have been selected for the first NWSL game of 2015, which kicks off at 8:30pm EDT.
“This is an exciting year for women’s soccer worldwide and I know many of us are excited to get back out there to start the new season,” Koroleva, who has officiated in USL already in 2015, told proreferees.com.
“With so many of the NWSL’s players in top form it is definitely going to be a high level of competition throughout the year.
“It’s always an honor to work the first match of a season and I am really looking forward to stepping on to the field and getting the games going. It is also a bit of added pressure to set the tone for the upcoming season, but I’m confident in our crew and our preparation.
“Houston has a unique and exciting atmosphere for their games and I was excited to receive the assignment. We are expecting focused and inspired performances from the teams as well as a great turn-out from the supporters.”
Other referees in action during Week 1 of NWSL include Margaret Domka, who will take charge of Portland Thorns versus Boston Breakers, and Christina Unkel, who will be at Memorial Stadium to officiate Seattle Reign’s game against Western New York Flash.
Image: Katja Koroleva (L) pictured with Sandra Serafini and Amanda Ross at the Glasgow International Cup
And 28-year-old Koroleva, who combines her refereeing with work as a Physician Assistant in Emergency Room in the Pacific Northwest, hopes her assignment to the NWSL opener at BBVA Compass Stadium will be the start of a successful year.
“North America is really fortunate to have such solid opportunities for female officials on both men’s and women’s matches and it has paid off,” the Seattle resident added.
“Margaret Domka was recently selected to the Women’s World Cup and Christina Unkel has had a lot of success this past year at multiple international tournaments. I am definitely proud to be working alongside those two on the opening weekend.
“My off-season went very well. I had the opportunity to take a bit of a break from soccer and travel, then started right back into a fitness program designed by PRO’s Sports Scientist Matt Hawkey. The program has been beneficial and I have felt great on a few recent USL games.
“I am looking to have another solid year in the NWSL. Outside of the league I am hoping to continue refereeing in the USL, US Open Cup, and international matches.”