FIFA has named its first female refereeing trio for a men’s World Cup. The trio comprising Stephanie Frappart, Neuza Back, and Karen Diaz will officiate the match between Costa Rica and Germany, scheduled for December 1, 2022, at Al Bayt stadium. 

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Who is Karen Diaz?

Karen Diaz has a degree in agro-industrial engineering, but her interest in football officiating peaked when she was working at the snack shack at a youth sports center.

“The designated referee did not show up for the game. The league administrator asked me if I wanted to referee the game, and I said yes. I liked it and I enjoyed the experience … From then on, I was assigned more games every week and with the money earned I was able to pay for college,” she said in a 2020 interview. 

She has twelve years of experience and has been an official in Liga MX matches since 2016. She achieved the feat of being the first woman to officiate in a Liga MX final in 2020, at the time when she was an assistant referee for the second leg of Pumas vs. Leon.

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 “First of all, because I love soccer. This is a profession that makes you fall more in love with it each day, since each day you can face a new challenge. It is a fantastic experience that involves all your senses in each game,” she said on why she is so passionate about the game. 

She was certified as a FIFA referee in 2018 and was given several high-profile assignments like Concacaf under-17 women’s championships in Nicaragua in 2018, the Concacaf under-20 men’s championships in Florida the same year, and the Scotiabank Concacaf League in 2020. 

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In the ongoing FIFA World Cup, Diaz was tasked to be the reserve assistant in the Morocco-Croatia match and also in the Portugal-Ghana face off. Diaz was asked to maintain order on both benches and announce player substitutions. She could also have replaced the assistant referee in the case when one of them suffers through unprecedented injuries or other medical reasons.