The NFL named Maia Chaka as the league’s first black woman official yesterday, in an NBC “TODAY” exclusive report.
“It didn’t really hit me until just now,” Chaka said on The Today Show. “When I saw the introduction, I’m like, ‘This is really real,’ because this is just something that we’re just always taught to work hard for. Sometimes we just don’t take time to stop and smell our own roses.”
Chaka previously officiated in college, XFL and Pac-12games as sideline referee.
“I’ve just been grinding for so long at this,” Chaka said to ROOT Sports on Friday. “It’s just an honor to be able to join the National Football League.”
Chaka is the second NFL female official in the history of the league. The NFL hired Sarah Thomas as the first female official in 2015. The NFL chose Thomas the first woman to officiate a Superbowl game.
Who is Maia Chaka
Maia Chaka worked as a physical education and health teacher for at-risk youth in Virginia Beach. She also has officiating experience as well. Chaka hopes her new position in the NFL severs as an example to her students back home to let anything “hold you back just because you think that something may give you some type of limitation.”
In 2014, scouts recruited Chaka into the NFL’s Officiating Development Program after noticing her officiating a college game. During her time with the program, Chaka began officiating games in the XFL, Pac-12, and NFL pre-season games.
On Monday, March 1 of this year, Chaka received the call that sealed her name into the history books.
“I asked him, ‘Hey, are you punking me? You’ve gotta be kidding me,’ because I’ve been at it for so long. I just never thought the day would come. I just enjoyed working.” Chaka said in her “TODAY” show interview.
“Just continue to work hard and always, always, always just follow your dreams,” she added.
“From Our Haus to Yours.”