Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Crew announced for 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup Final

Natalie Simon has been assigned as referee for the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup Final on Saturday, May 8 (1PM ET) between Portland Thorns and NJ/NY Gotham FC.

This is the first final for the PRO2 referee, who was involved in the NWSL Playoffs semifinals in 2019. Since officiating in the North American Soccer League in 2016 she has also officiated in the USL and MLS, working as a fourth official in the latter.

Simon will be joined at Providence Park by assistant referees Brooke Mayo and Deleana Quan – two experienced officials who are on the FIFA panel.

It is the second milestone for Mayo in as many weeks after being part of an all-female crew assigned by PRO for a USL Championship game last Saturday. Quan, meanwhile, will take to the field having been the reserve assistant referee at last year’s Challenge Cup Final.

Saturday’s fourth official is Karen Callado, who has refereed three NWSL Challenge Cup games this year. She made her debut on the professional stage as a fourth official in the women’s top division in 2019, and has worked in both USL Championship and League One. Rachel Smith completes the crew as the reserve assistant referee.

Portland Thorns and NJ/NY Gotham FC (formerly Sky Blue FC) both lost in the semifinals of the 2020 Challenge Cup. They head into this year’s showpiece game having topped their respective conferences; the Thorns with a marginally better record in 2021 than their opponents, collecting 10 points to Gotham’s eight.

Portland Thorns FC vs NJ/NY Gotham FC
Providence Park (1PM ET)
REF: Natalie Simon
AR1: Brooke Mayo
AR2: Deleana Quan
4TH: Karen Callado
RAR: Rachel Smith

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