FIFA referee Karen Abt has spoken of the honor of officiating at the recent SheBelieves Cup, which involves some of the highest-ranked countries in women’s soccer.
The PRO representative took the whistle at Red Bull Arena for Germany versus France – the countries ranked second and third respectively in FIFA’s world rankings – which ended 0-0 in front of 10,000 spectators.
France went on to win the tournament, with two victories alongside that draw, and Abt was proud to play a part in the Cup, which is growing in importance after only its second year.
“It was an honor to be involved and represent U.S. Soccer and PRO at the SheBelieves Cup,” the referee reflected. “Sharing the field with these players, which included four of the top ranked teams in the world, is a true privilege.
“All of the matches were highly competitive and a great representation of the sport. This, and events like it, provide a positive influence for the women’s game as it is an opportunity for the top teams to compete and gauge their progress and preparation for the 2019 FIFA World Cup.
“The same can be said for us, the referees. We had an opportunity to referee the most skilled players in the world. The women’s game is evolving rapidly, so this was the perfect setting for everyone to learn and grow.”
Abt worked alongside Amanda Ross and Deleana Quan at Red Bull Arena – a venue she described as ‘great’ – and reserved praise for her colleagues.
Image: The crew for Germany v France (Karen Abt – center right)
The trio will be back on the PRO assignments page in the coming weeks when the 2017 NWSL season kicks off, something which Abt has been working hard in preparation for.
“It’s great to work with a referee team where there is already established familiarity and trust. I am, and continue to be, very appreciative of Amanda and Deleana for all of their hard work and commitment.
“Being match fit is always challenging coming off a couple months of winter break, but I have maintained a training schedule to be prepared.
“I have been training hard during the winter to try and minimize the transition into the season. Training outdoors in the Colorado winter is a feat, so I’ve had to get a bit creative to simulate the intervals and bursts of sprinting that games demand.
“I am looking forward to another great season. The popularity and growth of soccer in North America makes this an exciting time to be involved in the game. The opportunities for players and referees are there, we just have to work hard to seize the opportunities.”