Soccer has always seemed to be a masculine sport due to males dominating the sport some decades ago. Well, as of today, the whole aspect of soccer changed as well as the genders participating in it changed.
Moreover, despite it being forbidden for males to clash with females in a soccer competition, there are certain soccer matches in which the officiating is done by the female while the males play.
You might as well be wondering if the female do officiate soccer matches impartially just as I used to wonder, the answer is “Yes.” Moreover, in this article, I will be listing the best female referees in the world.
So, without further ado, let us proceed –
Top 10 Best Female Referees In The World
1. Bibiana Steinhaus (Germany)
Bibiana Steinhaus is one of the first women who started officiating male soccer games. She is from Germany and is a soccer referee who is impartial in her judgment on the pitch.
Bibiana started as a footballer before pushing herself for a soccer match officiating course. To sum it up, her officiating career began in 2001, and in 2007, she successfully officiated her first soccer male match.
In 2017/2018, she turned out to be the first female referee to officiate in the Bundesliga although she officiated as a female referee.
In 2020, she retired from officiating soccer matches, after handling games in the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, UEFA Women’s Euro 2009, and 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. She indeed had a beautiful career in refereeing.
2. Kathryn Nesbitt (United States)
Next on our list is Kathryn Nesbitt, a United States female referee. Well, Nesbitt will always be applauded for creating a beautiful soccer career despite not starting as a footballer or any football-related personnel.
Before officiating in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, she was a professor of Chemistry at Towson University. Due to having standards in professionalism, she successfully got the chance to officiate in FIFA Men’s World Cup.
2020 was one of her best years as a referee as she became the first woman to handle a championship match in professional men’s sports in North America.
She officiated most Men’s games in the United States before reaching the international level.
3. Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda)
Tied on number three as one of the best female referees is Salima Mukandanga who is from Rwanda. She made Africa proud as she is regarded as one of the first African female referees.
She became a FIFA-listed referee in 2012, and some years later, she started to smash records.
Notable competitions she has officiated at are FIFA Women’s World Cup, Women’s Soccer at the Olympic games, Women’s AFCON, and Men’s AFCON. She also holds the record of the first Female referee from Africa to officiate in the Men’s World Cup.
4. Stéphanie Frappart (France)
Stephanie Frappart is definitely not the first female referee but she is really applauded for putting in more hard work into her refereeing profession.
She has officiated in top competitions and matches. In fact, she is the first woman to officiate a men’s game in the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 in France, the first to officiate a men’s FIFA World Cup qualifier, men’s UEFA Champions League game, Men’s UEFA Super Cup in 2019, and other notable matches.
Despite quite a few times of facing high-pressure situations, she has always been impartial in her decisions on the pitch.
5. Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan)
Before being included in the list of match officials for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Yoshimi Yamashita made a big name in Asia.
Currently, she holds the record of being the first woman to officiate in the J1 League, Japan’s top-flight league, and the AFC Champions League.
Other than being a match referee in the FIFA World Cup, she officiated at the Women’s Olympics and even in her late thirties, she was still being professional in her refereeing
6. Neuza Back (Brazil)
Neuza Back established her name back then in Brazil as she officiated in several games across the leagues in South American countries.
She started as a footballer just like other referees although her soccer career ended somehow, hence, she jumped into refereeing matches.
She made her refereeing debut in 2009 and which made her handle crucial FIFA Men’s World Cup games and FIFA Women’s World Cup games.
7. Claudia Umpiérrez (Uruguay)
Claudia Umpiérrez is arguably one of the best female referees in South America. She was born into a soccer family and her niece, Rubén Umpiérrez is a Uruguayan International. Her grandfather was a referee and her dad was a coach.
She officiated a standard soccer game in 2009, and she handled a men’s game in 2015. A year later, she was appointed for the Uruguayan top-flight game between River Plate and Boston River which she perfected the best of her.
Other than being a referee, she is a lawyer and has been ranked several times as one of the best female soccer referees in the world by IFFHS.
8. Karen Diaz Medina (Mexico)
Karen Diaz Medina is also on the list of best female soccer referees in the world. She made the third part of the all-female referee team to handle a soccer game at the FIFA World Cup which was between Germany and Costa Rica.
After her late thirties, she received her FIFA badge (a global recognition) two years later due to officiating in South America for seven years after officiating in Mexico’s Liga MX in 2016
9. Sian Massey-Ellis (England)
Sian Massey-Ellis is one of the first England female soccer referees to gain global recognition. She has always been there to officiate soccer games in the Premier League.
Even though she is not a center referee, she is regarded as a top professional.
She has been in charge of several competitions, including the Women’s World Cup and qualifiers, the Europa League, and the UEFA Women’s Champions League but not as a center referee.
10. Rita Gani (Malaysia)
Rita Gani is also one of the best female soccer referees to showcase her impartial judgment on the pitch.
Rita Gani was first of all a police officer before becoming an official referee in 2004. Two years later, she joined the FIFA referee list of the best female soccer referees.
She officiated at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2014 AFC Women’s Cup. Having done all of those, she won the award for the best women’s referee.
Soccer has always been the best sport to welcome both genders on the pitch as players, referees, coaches, and other related personnel.
However, despite creating a bond between males and females, both genders have not played against each other in a soccer match, but have created a path that makes females officiate males and the other way around.
However, I have already listed the best female soccer referees in the world and I would like to attend to your questions if you have any.
Kenny is an experienced blogger and sports writer who majors in soccer articles amongst other trending niches. Do well to stay updated with his updates and that of his team of editors on Readsoccer.