Kateryna Monzul made history in 2016 when she became the first female referee in Ukraine to officiate a soccer match in the men’s top division, a game between Chornomorets Odesa against Volyn Lutsk.
“Despite the mental training, when I went out on the soccer pitch and watched the teams lining up, I could hear my heart racing. I was overwhelmed with emotions,” recalls Monzul.
That game was part of a journey for the 39-year-old that began with refereeing children’s and youth championships and took her all the way to refereeing the Women’s World Cup Final between the United States and Japan in 2015.
Since then she became the first woman to referee Ukraine’s domestic cup final last year and was named the best referee in the men’s division by the Ukrainian Association of Football in an otherwise male field.