Watch the moment American referee Tori Penso learns she’s in charge of the World Cup final

The Women’s World Cup final will have American representation despite the game being between Spain and England.

The referee crew for the Women’s World Cup final has three Americans with Tori Penso being the head referee. Her two lineswoman and fellow Americans are Brooke Mayo and Kathryn Nesbitt.

Women’s World Cup final referee

Penso was selected on Thursday and couldn’t hold back the tears when she learned she would be the head referee for the 2023 Women’s World Cup final.

Penso, born in Stuart, Florida, has been refereeing professionally since 2013. She got her professional start refereeing college games before being appointed to ref NWSL matches in 2015.

The 36-year-old made history in 2020 when she became the first woman to referee a Major League Soccer game in two decades. FIFA noticed her work and added her to the officiating pool for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

She will make history again on Sunday as the first American referee for a Women’s World Cup final. 

During the tournament she officiated two group stage games, a Round of 16 game and the semifinal between Australia and England.

FIFA Referees Committee Chairman Pierluigi Collina had high praise for Penso and her work during the World Cup.

"She is the best choice possible," Collina said. "She did very well during the entire competition, in particular, the semifinal last Wednesday. We know that it came across quite unexpectedly – her appointment, because she was appointed for the semifinal, but we are fully convinced that the best has to be the referee for the final, and she was the best."

Penso was happily shocked by the news and said later how special it was to be chosen.

“There’s nothing better than this moment I’m living right now," Penso said. “I think all of us were salivating at the opportunity and the chance, and when he flipped that (shirt) over to showcase my name, I melted." 

Penso will blow her whistle to begin the 2023 Women’s World Cup final at 6 a.m. ET on Sunday. The final will be played at Stadium Australia.

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