Maia Chaka made NFL history as the first Black woman to be named an official referee by the league.
The TODAY Show reported that the Virginia Beach-based phys-ed and health teacher has trained with the football league since 2014. She was overjoyed to hear that her hard and effort landed her the job.
“Just because I’ve been at it for so long, and I just never thought the day would come,” Chaka told the NBC morning show. Chaka got the phone call about the exciting news on March 1.
“It didn’t really hit me until just now,” she said in an interview with the morning show. “When I saw the introduction, I’m like, ‘This is really real,’ because this is just something that we’re just always taught to work hard for. Sometimes we just don’t take time to stop and smell our own roses.”
The humble beauty called her new gig “an honor.”
She expressed that the key to being a great referee was having patience, listening and being confident to make the call.
“You’re going to make mistakes, and it’s not necessarily how many mistakes you make, but it’s how you recover,” Chaka said.
The ardent football fan previously refereed college football games and worked on the sidelines at XFL games.
“If you have a passion for something or you have the drive for something, don’t let it hold you back just because you think that something may give you some type of limitation,” she says. “Work hard, and always, always, always follow your dreams.”
Chaka is also the second woman in NFL history to become a referee.