The crew for the 2023 USL Championship Final on Sunday, November 12, has been announced. The showpiece game between Charleston Battery and Phoenix Rising will kick off at 7PM ET at Patriots Point Stadium.
Charleston Battery vs Phoenix Rising
Patriots Point Stadium (7PM ET)
REF: Elton Garcia
AR1: Mike Nickerson
AR2: Nicholas Balcer
4TH: Natalie Simon
RAR: Matthew Schwartz
Meet the crew:
The 2020 USL Referee of the Year will officiate his first major final when Charleston Battery hosts Phoenix Rising, having previously overseen a USL Championship Western Conference final in 2021 and MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference final last year. Refereed 24 regular-season games across MLS, USL Championship, NWSL, and MLS NEXT Pro in 2023.
Was USL Assistant Referee of the Year in 2021 and has officiated a combined 23 regular-season games in USL Championship and NWSL in 2023, plus a further four MLS games. Was AR for the MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference final between Colorado Rapids 2 and Austin FC II last month.
Like Nickerson, was AR for an MLS NEXT Pro final this year – the Eastern Conference final between New England Revolution II vs Columbus Crew 2 – and has worked four MLS regular-season games in 2023. Has been a regular in the USL Championship, officiating 23 games.
After making her MLS debut in September, Simon will conclude the season with her second final as fourth official after working in that role at the NWSL Championship in 2021. Has also refereed both the NWSL Challenge Cup (2021) and NWSL Championship (2022). Tallied 14 regular-season games as a referee across MLS, USL Championship, NWSL, and MLS NEXT Pro, plus a further six as fourth official in MLS in 2023.
Fourteen of Schwartz’s 26 games this year have been in USL Championship, and he will be involved in his first USL final after twice being AR for Conference Semifinals in 2022 and 2023.