Maia Chaka will make history as the first Black woman to be named to the NFL's officiating staff, the league announced Friday.
Chaka has been added to the NFL's game officials roster for the 2021 season. She will be the first Black woman to officiate at the NFL level.
“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” Chaka said in the NFL's announcement. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”
Chaka joins the NFL after spending time officiating in the Pac-12 and Conference USA. She was selected to join the NFL’s Officiating Development Program in 2014, which aims to develop top officiating talent to be promoted to the league level.
NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent, Sr. called Chaka a "trailblazer" and said she inspires the NFL "toward normalizing women on the football field.”
Chaka has spent her professional career officiating and teaching. She serves as a health and physical education teacher in Virginia Beach and graduated with her bachelor's degree from Norfolk State University in 2006.
“If you have a drive for something, don't let it hold you back because you think that something may give you some type of limitation," Chaka said on the TODAY show. "Continue to work hard, and always, always, always follow your dreams.”
Chaka joins fellow female official Sarah Thomas, who recently became the first woman to referee a Super Bowl, as the lone on-field female officials in the NFL.