Tijuana v Santos Laguna - Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX©GettyImages
HERstory in the making

Qatar 2022: Meet Karen Díaz, the Mexican referee who will make World Cup history

Several women will be referees for the first time in the history of the men’s soccer world cups

Qatar 2022 is in full swing, and women will be referees for the first time in the history of the men’s soccer world cups. This fact becomes even more relevant as this year’s World Cup is taking place in a country with strong gender restrictions. Fulfilling a job that will shock patriarchy, Karen Díaz is the first woman to represent Mexican arbitration.

At 38 years old, Díaz was chosen as the linesman for the match between Costa Rica and Germany that will be played on Thursday, December 1. In total, six women were selected to carry out this important work.

Atletico San Luis v Tijuana - Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX©GettyImages
Karen Janett Diaz first auxiliar referee looks on during the 12th round match between Atletico San Luis and Tijuana as part of the Torneo Apertura 2022 Liga MX at Estadio Alfonso Lastras on September 1, 2022 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

Díaz joins Brazilian Neuza Back, another Latin American representative, as well as Stéphanie Frappart (France), Salima Mukansanga (Rwanda), Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan), and Kathryn Nesbitt (USA).

Díaz debuted in the Liga Mx of the first division in 2016. In six years, her work led her to referee local final instance matches from the bands and international games.

Who is Karen Diaz?

Karen Janet Díaz Medina was born in Aguascalientes and is 38 years old. With a professional trajectory of 12 years, her passion for soccer was born when she was a child, thanks to her father, who left the family tradition of charrería.

She finished her degree in Agroindustrial Engineering and dedicated herself to it before working as a whistler. In an interview with the Mexican Football Federation, Díaz mentions that she was paid only 55 Mexican pesos for her first game as a referee, about US$5 at the time.

Karen Díaz, árbitra mexicana Catar 2022©GettyImages
Assistant Referee Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico reacts prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and England at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 29, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

In 2016, she participated for the first time in Liga MX, the highest category of Mexican soccer, during the regular season match between Pachuca vs. Leon. Since then, she has participated in six league tournaments.

The Mexican received her FIFA badge for the first time in 2018. “I see it as a great responsibility, and with that, I mark it. Being aware that we are responsible for doing it well, for being thankful and for the compañeras to continue doing their first times”, she said in an interview with the FMF.

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