SHAWNEE, Kan. — Sarah Thomas is making history as the first female official to work a Super Bowl this Sunday.
It has female referees in the Kansas City area jumping for joy. Thomas has been a mentor and an inspiration to other women that share her profession.
“I was so excited and so proud,” said Robyn Hobson, who officiates high school basketball and volleyball.
She believes Thomas is paving the way for women on the football field.
“I think it absolutely makes that dream more possible, and I think maybe we’ll see more women in football,” Hobson said.
Thomas will be a down judge in charge of the line of scrimmage at Super Bowl LV. She was the NFL’s first female on-field official when she joined the league in 2015.
“She has put the work in. This isn’t just walking on the field and doing a job,” Carmen Doramus-Kinley said. “She in the NFL, has to do more than we do in high school.”
Doramus-Kinley has been officiating football games in Kansas the last two years. She’s yet to run into another female official on the field.
“It’s a little stressful at times because I don’t want to let anybody down. I want to be that good role model,” Doramus-Kinley said. “I want to show them, ‘Hey, you can do this as a girl,’ and that there’s some little girl in the stands that says, ‘Hey, look at her.’”
Doramus-Kinley actually met Thomas at a conference. They stayed in contact, and she’s now a close mentor.
“She just said keep working hard. Make sure that you’re having fun, most of all, and that you can do it,” Doramus-Kinley said.
From the high school field to the NFL, Hobson and Thomas’ advice to women interested in officiating any sport is the same.
“Just do it!” Hobson said. “We all support you.”
“Just go out and do the job because it’s something that you want to do, and the respect will come. Don’t go looking for it,” Thomas said.
While Thomas remains unbiased, Doramus-Kinley will be sitting on the sidelines for the big game, and she has no problem rooting for a certain team: “Kansas City Chiefs all the way for sure!” she said.