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NFL hires Maia Chaka as 1st Black female on-field official

HALEY YAMADA and ERIC NOLL
·2-min read

Maia Chaka will become the first Black female on-field official in NFL history, the league announced on Friday.

Chaka, who has officiated college football and XFL games, will begin her new role this upcoming season.

PHOTO: Maia Chaka has become the first Black woman official in NFL history. (ABC)
PHOTO: Maia Chaka has become the first Black woman official in NFL history. (ABC)

When not on the field, she's a teacher for at-risk youth at her home in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Chaka told ESPN she wants to inspire young girls both on and off the field.

"It gives those girls an opportunity to see, 'OK, I can see my teacher works with people who don't look like her, and maybe it gives me an opportunity to work with people who don't look like me also,'" Chaka told ESPN.

PHOTO: Line Judge Maia Chaka during a game between LA Wildcats and Tampa Bay Vipers at Dignity Health Sports Park during an XFL game, March 8, 2020, in Carson, Calif.  (John Mccoy/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Line Judge Maia Chaka during a game between LA Wildcats and Tampa Bay Vipers at Dignity Health Sports Park during an XFL game, March 8, 2020, in Carson, Calif. (John Mccoy/Getty Images)

Chaka will join Sarah Thomas, who broke the league's gender barrier among officials in 2015 and went on to become the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl, earlier this year.

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"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," NFL Vice President Troy Vincent said in a statement.

PHOTO: Referee Maia Chaka officiates while the Salt Lake Stallions and the San Diego Fleet play in the Alliance of American Football game at SDCCU Stadium, March 9, 2019, in San Diego, Calif.  (Denis Poroy/AAF/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Referee Maia Chaka officiates while the Salt Lake Stallions and the San Diego Fleet play in the Alliance of American Football game at SDCCU Stadium, March 9, 2019, in San Diego, Calif. (Denis Poroy/AAF/Getty Images)

Chaka told "World News Tonight" about the moment she received the call. She said she couldn't believe the good news.

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"I'm so excited to be a member of the National Football League's officiating staff. I will always remember that day," she said. "My response was, 'I think I'm getting punked!'"

Chaka said she owes the opportunity to working hard and helping others work hard.

"As long as you put in the work and you have a strong work ethic, and you strive for greatness and strive to get better, all your dreams and goals and aspirations will always come true," she said.

NFL hires Maia Chaka as 1st Black female on-field official originally appeared on abcnews.go.com