Kathryn Nesbitt: Algarve Cup to MLS – Women’s World Cup next?

Kathryn Nesbitt
Image: PRO’s Kathryn Nesbitt (official on left) ahead of Portugal versus Russia in the Algarve Cup

PRO assistant referee Kathryn Nesbitt was in recent attendance at the Algarve Cup, an annual invitational event that brings some of the best teams in women’s soccer together.

The elite on show isn’t limited to the players, though, as the best crews of officials are invited, too. Nesbitt was one of three PRO representatives who traveled to Portugal at the beginning of March.

Twelve competing nations across five cities, in one week; the tournament is an ideal warm-up for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The next feast of women’s world soccer takes place in France in the summer of 2019, and Nesbitt has her sights set on a return to Europe.

“My goal is to referee my best game at the highest level, so my attention has always been set towards the Women’s World Cup,” she told proreferees.com. “Each game, whether domestic or international, is an opportunity for me to continue improving and working towards that goal.

“The selection for the Women’s World Cup is a two-year process. During this time, we are monitored through our monthly fitness training logs, bi-annual fitness and strength assessments, and quarterly reports on our domestic field performances.

“There will also be preparatory tournaments such as the Algarve Cup, U17 and U20 World Cups in 2018, where our officiating will be assessed. It’s important to for us to distinguish ourselves through fitness, game management, and professionalism.”

Nesbitt, along with fellow PRO colleagues Katja Koroleva and Felisha Mariscal, experienced a positive Algarve Cup, both on and off the field. A two-day seminar leading into the competition prepared the officials well, aided by excellent fitness instruction to get the very best out of them.

As for the action itself, the trio were assigned to the hosts’ opening game against Russia, and then the third-place match in Albufeira, where Denmark got the better of Australia on PKs.

It was then back to MLS – and more specifically New York – for Nesbitt. Her first league assignment of 2017 came at Yankee Stadium where New York City took on Montreal Impact, before a trip to New Jersey for Red Bulls’ game against Real Salt Lake in Week 4. Good to be back?

“I wish the Portuguese sun had followed me to New York, but even the cold and snow didn’t take away from my excitement to be back on the field in MLS!

“The first match back this year, I worked with a great referee crew on a competitive matchup, and the atmosphere at Yankee Stadium made it even more enjoyable. The scenarios and decisions I encounter in MLS keep me on my toes and prepared for my next international match.

“The Algarve Cup was an incredibly positive experience, and it was an honor to officiate the third-place match. We were happy that the effort we put in to preparing for this event was recognized and were excited by the opportunity to show our skills at that level, and it’s always great getting to work with referees that share similar ambitions, goals and commitment.”