Al Hilal vs Al Nassr’s Female American Referee in Saudi Arabia: Who is Tori Penso, With NWSL, MLS & FIFA WWC Experience?

Published 02/07/2024, 8:00 PM EST

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The Saudi Pro League has seen some big changes in the last few months. The Middle Eastern league has kickstarted a new era with the nation opening its door to soccer across all platforms. The recently hosted Riyadh Season Cup witnessed some massive changes, with the nation allowing women to referee the games. Senior match referee Tori Penso has gained quite the attention during her Saudi stint. While she gears up to officiate the final Riyadh Season Cup game this Thursday, who and from where is she?

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Penso will have her work cut out with both Al Nassr and Al Hilal looking to finish their mid-season break with a win. The last encounter between the two sides saw things get pretty heated. With multiple accolades to her name, the American referee is likely to provide fans with fair refereeing in the exhilarating contest.

Tori Penso: A devoted match official of the beautiful game

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The American professional will serve as the main match referee for the Al Hilal vs. Al Nassr game. Tori Penso has a lot of experience under her belt, with her working as an official during the NWSL, FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the Club World Cup. She made history last year, becoming a part of the first all-women trio to officiate an MLS game.

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2023 was a special year for her as she got the opportunity to shine once again during the Women’s World Cup. The tournament saw Tori Penso achieve an elite record as she became the first American to officiate a World Cup final. The 38-year-old is among one of the most decorated officials from her country.

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Apart from her work on the pitch, she serves as the Managing Director for the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association. She was elected for the role back in 2020 and since then has held the position to help provide better officiating at all levels across the United States.

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Tori Penso was also a part of the Club World Cup 2024 official panel, with her serving as the match official for the opening contest between Al Ittihad and Auckland City. She will have immense responsibilities on her shoulders as she takes to the field for the Al Hilal vs. Al Nassr contest. Both sides have some big names in their ranks, and it will be interesting to see how Penso navigates through different situations.

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Written by:

Saurabh Saket

829Articles

One take at a time

While soccer was never my first love, I never realized when I turned into an avid fan who jumps at every missed goal-scoring opportunity. I'm a passionate Borussia Dortmund fan despite my side not lifting the league title in the last twelve years. I love to talk about tiny aspects of the game, discussing every little detail.
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Edited by:

Daniel D'Cruz

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