On Monday, the list of referees for the first match day of the women’s soccer tournament at the 2012 London Olympics was unofficially released.
For the United States vs. France match, the center referee will be Sachiko Yamagishi (née Baba) of Japan. Yamagishi, a three-time AFC Referee of the Year (the-afc.com), ref’ed the USA/Brazil match in April, which was held in Chiba, as part of the Women’s Kirin Challenge Cup (U.S. Soccer match report). She also was the center referee for an Under-20 Women’s World Cup match involving the USA: the 2008 semifinal versus Germany, which the United States won 1:0 on an own goal (U.S. Soccer match report).
The Brazil match is notable because Alex Morgan had what appeared to have been a valid goal disallowed because Morgan was adjudged to be offside, and a potential Brazil goal was also disallowed based on an offside decison. But, neither of the assistant referees from the Brazil match are at the Olympics.
Veteran American referee Kari Seitz will be the center referee for the opening match between Great Britain and New Zealand. Seitz’s assistant referees are fellow Americans, Veronica Perez and Marlene Duffy. The American referees at the Olympics, both women and men, have a blog where they are journaling their experience: usaolympicreferees.blogspot.com.
The center referees for the other matches:
- Japan vs. Canada – Kirsi Heikkinen (Finland)
- Cameroon vs. Brazil – Jenny Palmqvist (Sweden)
- Sweden vs. South Africa – Jesica Di Iorio (Argentina)
- Colombia vs. Korea DPR – Carol Anne Chenard (Canada)
Bibi Steinhaus who refereed the Women’s World Cup final last year is a fourth official for the Sweden match.