Los Angeles Soccer: Veronica Perez
Marlene Duffy of Huntington Beach is one of three American referees, all from California, chosen to officiate at this summer's Women's World Cup in Germany, FIFA has announced.
Duffy and Veronica Perez of Sacramento will serve as linesmen -- or “assistant referees,” as the job is called officially -- at the June 26-July 17 women's championship, subject to a final fitness test in Frankfurt about a week before the tournament opener.
Kari Seitz of San Mateo, the most experienced female official in U.S. Soccer, will referee matches in Germany. She also has officiated at the 1999, 2003 and 2007 Women's World Cups.
Duffy, Perez and Seitz worked the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Duffy and Perez officiated at last year's FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Germany. Duffy was a linesman for the final, in which Germany beat Nigeria.
The three teamed to officiate last year's Women's Professional Soccer title game.
We've been hearing, and sometimes actually seeing, how the rest of the world has caught up to the U.S. in women's soccer, and no matter how much truth there is to the notion, it doesn't lessen the blow when something thought impossible occurs.
Such as the Americans' loss Friday night to Mexico.
It was an American -- San Mateo's Veronica Perez -- who knocked out the U.S. in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying semifinal, her 27th-minute header finishing off a 2-1 triumph in Cancun that sends Mexico into Monday's regional final against Canada.
The Mexicans and Canadians, who crunched Costa Rica, 4-0, in the other semifinal, qualified for next year's WWC in Germany. The U.S. must beat Costa Rica in Monday's third-place game, then beat Italy in a home-and-home series for another berth. The Americans' failure to qualify would be disastrous and would -- absolutely should -- cost Swedish coach Pia Sundhage her job.
The U.S. has been in transition the past decade as the legends of the previous generation -- including Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy (Mission Viejo/Mission Viejo HS) and Joy Fawcett (Huntington Beach/Edison HS) -- retired one by one, the Europeans began asserting their technical superiority and the sport's growth around the globe began to mirror what had occurred in North America a generation or two ago.