Say hello to Maia Chaka, because you'll be seeing a lot of her this fall. Chaka will be the NFL's first Black woman official starting in the 2021 season, the NFL announced in a press release today. "I am honored to be selected as an NFL official," Chaka said in the press release. "But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. It is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture."
Chaka has officiated college football in the Pac-12 and Conference USA and is also a health and physical-education teacher in Virginia Beach, VA. In an interview this morning on Today, Maia said she got the big news March 1, but "it didn't really hit me until just now," she admitted. "I've just been grinding for so long at this. It's just an honor to be able to join the National Football League." Chaka will be just the second woman official in the NFL, following Sarah Thomas.
The takeaway Chaka wants to pass along? If you have a passion for something, don't let anything hold you back. "Continue to work hard and always, always, always, follow your dreams." Congratulations to Chaka for making history — we can't wait to see her on the field next season!