NORCECA Female International Referees Share their stories to Celebrate International Women’s Day

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, March 8, 2024.- To celebrate and recognize International Women’s Day 2024, the NORCECA Volleyball Confederation Refereeing  Commission hosted a virtual session “Sharing Our Story” to Inspire and Include NORCECA Female International Referees.

Guy Bradbury, president of the NORCECA Refereeing Commission, highlighted this was the second occasion that NORCECA female international referees had the opportunity to speak about their experiences refereeing at an international level, how they’ve been inspired in doing so and promoting inclusion in volleyball.

Julie Voeck of the United States, member of the NORCECA Refereeing Commission, was the moderator of the virtual session that was divided into two panels.

The first panel was taking a moment to listen to Suzanne Lowry, FIVB International Beach Volleyball Referee and USA National Referee, who spoke about officiating as First Referee for the outdoor match in Nebraska, United States with more than 94,000 spectators, an event in August that set a new world record for the most highly attended women’s sporting event in history. 

Suzanne shared her experience sharing how she prepared before the match, the atmosphere and her vivid feelings about the great responsibility and excitement taking part in this great historic event that exposed volleyball to the world, which inspired young girls that aspire to become athletes, coaches and referees. “This was life changing for my career, it gave a sense of awe, pride and inspiration”.

The second panel was a “Q&A” session with the new International Referee Candidates who participated in the Beach Volleyball and Volleyball International Referee Course that took place in January in Puerto Rico, who shared their journeys to becoming a NORCECA International Referee. Among them  Rebecca Johannes – PUR (beach), Rochelle Artwell – JAM (beach), Chantal Kasters – SUR (indoor), Breanna Spain – USA (indoor), Ana Marlenis Rodriguez – DOM (indoor) and Diana De la Mora – MEX (beach).

Guy explained that 55 Female International Referees are part of NORCECA and continues to grow, “NORCECA is the only Confederation in the world that is developing International Referee Courses and 54% of the participants during the International Referee Course held in January were female”.

In her closing words, Julie stated “we enjoyed this gathering to celebrate women, inspiring inclusion and their amazing journey full of meaningful moments, which have led us to become a family”.

While Guy thanked each and everyone for their commitment as referees in NORCECA, which have led them to take time from their families, work and friends “as a Confederation we send you our appreciation to help grow volleyball in NORCECA. Happy whistling”.