The Cal South Referee Spotlight is a feature, highlighting elite officials through the Cal South system. 

Growing up in Guanajuato, Mexico, Reyna Elizabeth Fonseca was the lone girl on the field matching up against boys. There were no girl teams available at the time, as the sport was only available to boys.

Once a high school student living in Santa Ana, Calif., she continued to play soccer, frustrated after most of her season games due to referees being unprofessional, overweight, unable to keep up with the game, or not knowing the laws of the game. Her frustration and love for the game inspired her to make a difference where she saw it needed change. And curiously enough, her full name initials led her to her next step in her soccer career.

Fonseca began working as a referee in unaffiliated leagues in 2008, a year before she met her first mentor, Marco Davila, who guided her and recommended she join the Cal South Referee family. Since then, Davila has become like family to Fonseca, guiding her through the process of advancing in the Referee Pathway.

“Cal South was the base, pillar, and a blessing that gave my career a start,” Fonseca said. “Starting with local state and national youth games and picked over my performance to represent Cal South in Regionals, National, Dallas Cup and Adult Regionals; and becoming a National Referee for five years and Professional for four years.

“Once I was exposed in these tournaments, you get seen by people that work at the professional level. Arturo Angeles, now working with CONCACAF in Mexico, prepared the monthly academic and physical training meetings with our group and that helped me to prepare even more,” she added.

Becoming a US Soccer National Referee is a task that many work towards for years, and maintaining the badge is another story. For Fonseca, earning her National Referee Badge back in 2015 was much more than just a feat, especially with the challenges she faced as a single working mom to two kids. However, her new lifestyle would make her stronger as a person, referee, and a mom.

“To me, this means the American dream!” the Cal South Referee said. “As an immigrant, I was able to create and take opportunities for my career and family by putting in the work, sacrificing my wants and needs and having my family’s support.”

Fonseca has definitely reached an all-time high in her career, but she’s not ready to stop there. Like every good competitor, she’s hungry for more in her career, and has already set eyes on the next step that will allow her to do what she loves most.

“My goal is to be at the Olympics and World Cup as a FIFA Referee and represent this country that gave me the opportunity to be a professional referee,” Fonseca said.

“The biggest satisfaction is that I get to do what I love, and I have the opportunity to grow and better myself each day and game,” she finalized.

To learn more about the Cal South Referee Program, click here.