Katja Koroleva has been assigned as the referee for the NWSL Challenge Cup Final, which will be contested on Sunday, July 26 (12:30PM ET) between Houston Dash and Chicago Red Stars.
The 33-year-old has officiated six matches in Utah, two as a fourth official, on the back of fighting COVID-19 on the frontline as a physician assistant at the Regional Medical Center in San Jose, California, throughout lockdown.
Koroleva’s assignment marks another milestone in her professional soccer career that began in 2013, having refereed at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France last summer, and more recently, the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.
The FIFA official of six years will lead an experienced crew – assistant referee Jennifer Garner ran the line for Koroleva in the NWSL Championship Final five years ago in Portland and will again for this tournament finale.
Garner has been on the FIFA panel since 2018 and has worked opposite Tiffini Turpin for two games in this summer’s tournament, at both the quarterfinal and semifinal stage.
Those two ties were refereed by Tori Penso, whose assignment for this afternoon’s game marks her eighth match since the competition began almost a month ago, and her third as a fourth official.
With Koroleva at the helm, Garner, Turpin and Penso reunite as the Dash and the Red Stars challenge for the trophy having both progressed to the final by a one-goal margin. Chicago beat Sky Blue FC 3-2 while Houston Dash defeated Portland Thorns with a solitary goal on Wednesday.
Houston Dash vs Chicago Red Stars
Rio Tinto Stadium (12:30PM ET)
REF: Katja Koroleva
AR1: Jennifer Garner
AR2: Tiffini Turpin
4TH: Tori Penso
RAR: Deleana Quan