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Ismail Elfath and Kathryn Nesbitt collect top MLS awards


Ismail Elfath has been named the 2020 MLS Referee of the Year, and Kathryn Nesbitt is the 2020 Assistant Referee of the Year, becoming the first woman to receive this end of season award.

Elfath took charge of 16 MLS games during this year’s regular season, as well as refereeing the MLS is Back Tournament Final – his 12th match in Orlando including his fourth official and VAR assignments.

The FIFA official also centered the 150th MLS regular-season game of his career in Week 8, when Portland Timbers hosted Real Salt Lake. Elfath made his professional debut in NASL over 10 years ago and has previously received two MLS Referee of the Year nominations in 2013 and 2017.

In August, Nesbitt was also on the MLS is Back final crew as an assistant referee, making history as the first female to ever officiate an MLS title game.

In addition to her seven AVAR assignments, the FIFA assistant referee flagged 18 regular-season games in 2020, which is her highest MLS total having been assigned 15 times in both 2018 and 2019, after receiving her first professional assignment in NWSL seven years ago.

Nominated by the Professional Referee Organization, candidates for MLS Assistant and Referee of the Year were voted on by MLS club technical staff, media and MLS players. Below is the voting breakdown:

Referee of the Year
Ismail Elfath (51.04%)
Joe Dickerson (28.93%)
Jair Marrufo (20.04%)

Assistant Referee of the Year
Kathryn Nesbitt (56.35%)
Cory Richardson (23.85%)
Corey Rockwell (19.80%)


Please click here for a list of previous winners




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