Karen Díaz Medina, an assistant referee in Liga MX, made history on Thursday when she was one of the six female officials designated to work at this year’s World Cup, the first women to be so honored.
Díaz, 37 and a native of Aguascalientes, has been a Liga MX sideline judge, or assistant referee as they are now called, since 2016, seven years after making her professional debut as a soccer official in 2009.
Díaz has received high marks for her performance from the Liga MX Referees Committee and worked the 2021 Liga MX Final in which Cruz Azul defeated Santos Laguna back on May 30, 2021. She has been a FIFA-sanctioned official since 2018.
The other five female officials invited to participate in the 2022 Qatar World Cup are referees Stephani Frappart (France), Salima Mukasanga (Rwanda) and Yoshimi Yamashita (Japan), plus assistant referees Nueza Back (Brazil) and Kathryn Nesbitt (United States).
Liga MX coaching carousel spins some more
Now that the departure of Juan Reynoso has been made official, Cruz Azul will begin its coaching search in earnest. As mentioned here yesterday, Hugo Sánchez – a two-time Liga MX champ as coach of the Pumas – is considered the front-runner, but the legendary Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti is also in the running.
Sánchez was reportedly the choice to replace Robert Siboldi back in December 2020, but his asking price was too high and the Cementeros opted for Reynoso, a former Cruz Azul defender. The Peruvian led “La Máquina” to the Guardianes 2021 Liga MX title, but fell out with GM Jaime Ordiales (Reynoso allegedly offered his resignation back in February after a front office reshuffle that reinstated Ordiales).
Another Big Four team – Guadalajara – is also looking for new management, but Ricardo Peláez’s search for a new coach is not going over well in the Chivas’ locker room.
The embattled GM has reportedly reached out to Ricardo Ferretti (the legendary coach led the Chivas to the Verano 1997 Liga MX title), but the players are in Ricardo Cadena’s corner.
Cadena took over after Marcelo Michel Leaño was canned following a 3-1 home loss to Monterrey on April 13. Cadena – who had been managing Guadalajara’s Ascenso MX franchise CD Tapatío – led the Chivas to five consecutive victories and a spot in the quarterfinals where they were knocked out by defending Liga MX champs Atlas.
Peláez is determined to install a coach of his own liking after owner Amaury Vergara hired Michel Leaño against the GM’s wishes. Now Peláez has apparently been given the green light to make the selection.
Elsewhere across Liga MX, two teams have made it known that they are sticking with their managers.
In Puebla, Nicolás Larcamón has signed on for two more years even as it was thought he might be the subject of a bidding war this summer. América was said to be interested in acquiring Larcamón’s services but Fernando Ortiz appears close to having the “interim” tag removed from his label as he has guided the Aguilas to a spot in the Liga MX semifinals.
In Mexico City, the Pumas announced that Andrés Lillini will remain in charge for the next two seasons after signing a one-year extension. Lillini guided UNAM to the Concacaf Champions League Final and led the team to a Liga MX wildcard berth despite having a limited payroll.