CHICAGO (March 26, 2019) — U.S. Soccer FIFA Referee Ismail Elfath and Assistant Referees Kyle Atkins and Corey Parker have been selected as match officials for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup. FIFA announced 21 groups of match officials from all six confederations for the competition, which begins May 23 in Lublin, Poland.
The selected officials are three of 24 U.S. Soccer referees that were named in January to the 2019 FIFA Panel, the world’s highest level of officiating. Selection grants the 24 officials the opportunity to referee at the highest levels of international soccer.
Elfath has been a member of the FIFA Panel since 2016 and will referee the U-20 World Cup after officiating last fall’s Concacaf U-20 Championship. Elfath also officiated the 2017 Concacaf U-20 Championship, as well as the MLS Cup in 2013, MLS Conference Finals in 2015 and 2017 and MLS All-Star Games in 2014 and 2015. He has been nominated for MLS Referee of the Year twice, in 2013 and 2017.
Parker has refereed in MLS since 2011 and has been a member of the FIFA Panel since 2015. The U-20 World Cup will mark his second major international tournament after running the sidelines at the 2016 Copa America Centenario. He was named MLS Assistant Referee of the Year in 2015 and officiated his first MLS Cup Final that same year.
Atkins’ last major assignment came at the Gold Medal Match for the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games. He has refereed 75 MLS games since 2014 and was named to the FIFA Panel for the first time in 2018.
Referees from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico will also represent Concacaf at the U-20 World Cup. FIFA selects its best match officials from around the world for FIFA competitions. This tournament will mark the first time that Video Assistant Referees will be used during a FIFA youth World Cup event. Twenty VAR officials will assist at the competition in Poland.