Chaka named NFL's first Black female official

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(Reuters) - Maia Chaka has become the first Black woman ever named to the NFL's officiating roster, having been added to the list of game officials for the 2021 season, the league said on Friday.

Chaka was selected to the NFL's officiating developmental program in 2014 and now joins the league after working her way through the college ranks, including stints in the Pac-12 Conference and Conference USA.

"I am honored to be selected as an NFL official," Chaka said in a news release. "But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. I​t is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture."

The NFL's officiating developmental program identifies top collegiate officiating talent to expose them to some of the same experiences as NFL officials, working to determine if they have the ability to succeed as an NFL official.

Chaka, a health and physical education teacher in the Virginia Beach public school system, has been dedicated to improving the lives of children throughout her professional career, the NFL said.

"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," said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent.

Sarah Thomas became the NFL's first full-time female official in 2015 and last month became the first woman to officiate in a Super Bowl.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)