Image (L-R): Assistant Referees Amanda Ross, Benjamin Wooten and Jennifer Garner
PRO’s Jennifer Garner is excited about the future of the NWSL after her appearance as Assistant Referee in this season’s Championship game.
Garner was part of the officiating crew – alongside fellow AR Amanda Ross, referee Ekaterina Koroleva, fourth official Margaret Domka, and reserve AR Benjamin Wooten – that took charge of the season finale between Seattle Reign and FC Kansas City.
And the official was blown away by the atmosphere at Providence Park, emphasizing the growth of the sport over the past few years.
“It was a tremendous atmosphere for the match,” Garner reflected.
“NWSL is now three years old, has grown during that time period, and shows potential to continue to grow. The final, held in Portland at a neutral site, had over 13,000 in attendance.
“I am very excited and optimistic about the NWSL and the opportunities it provides for women’s soccer in our country.”
Garner was delighted upon hearing the news of her assignment, but remained concentrated on the task in hand – which saw FC Kansas City run out 1-0 winners to claim the Championship trophy for the second successive season.
“I was very excited when I found out I was assigned to the NWSL Championship game. It is a great honor to be named to the crew for the league final.
“I think before any final there is a high level of excitement. Everyone involved has worked very hard to get to where they are. I seem to have the ability to be excited, but remain calm and focused.
“I feel the match went very well from the officiating side. We are another team on the field and want to be successful just as the teams playing do.
“We all prepared by doing our research on the teams, players, and possible match ups. The entire crew arrived in Portland the day before and we had ample time to discuss the match and review procedures.
“For us, success is getting all of the critical decisions correct and essentially not being noticed. I felt very comfortable with the crew. We all worked very well together to ensure our ultimate goal was reached.”
Garner was playing soccer in North Texas when she decided to give officiating a go, and the decision has proved a good one with this appointment ranking highly on her list of achievements.
“The NWSL Championship is definitely a highlight of my career. It was an honor to be a part of the championship game and a member of a great crew.
“I hope to continue to grow as an official and look forward to what the future might hold.”