NFL names Maia Chaka its 1st Black female official

Sarah Thomas, the first female NFL official. was hired in 2015. Since then it had been crickets in terms of adding more women officials despite Thomas’s success. Until now.

The NFL announced Friday that long-time official Maia Chaka has been added to its officiating roster. She becomes the second female NFL official and the first Black woman to hold the coveted position.

“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” Chaka said. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. I​t is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”​

Chaka’s appointment wasn’t out of the blue – she’s been clawing her way to the big stage for years. Chaka enters the NFL after a successful collegiate career that has included officiating Pac-12 and Conference USA games.

In 2014, she joined the NFLs Officiating Development Program, which identifies and trains top collegiate officials. Several officials are called up to the NFL from this program. Finally it was Chaka’s turn to get the call.

“Maia’s years of hard work, dedication and perseverance – including as part of the NFL Officiating Development Program – have earned her a position as an NFL official,” said TROY VINCENT, SR., NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Maia is a trailblazer as the first Black female official and inspires us toward normalizing women on the football field.”

When not officiating, Chaka has served as a health and physical education teacher in the Virginia Beach public school system.

Chaka’s appointment is another key step toward normalization of football.