Women's Soccer Ref Katja Koroleva Working as Physician Assistant amid COVID-19

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 12, 2020

EAST HARTFORD, CT - JULY 29:  Referee Katja Koroleva of the United States issues a yellow card to Daiane (not pictured) of Brazil against Japan during the second half of a Tournament of Nations game played at Pratt & Whitney Stadium on July 29, 2018 in East Hartford, Connecticut. Brazil defeated Japan 2-1. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Rich Barnes/Getty Images

Katja Koroleva might have thought serving as an official for five games in the 2019 Women's World Cup was the most important job she'd ever find herself doing, but she would be wrong.

The 33-year-old also works as a physician assistant, and she has been working 12-hour shifts for the last three months in the emergency room at Regional Medical Center in San Jose, California, during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, according to the Los Angeles Times' Kevin Baxter.

"Neither field is really black or white," Koroleva told Baxter. "There are pathways we take based on gut instinct that are largely dependent on previous knowledge and understanding the situation."

She added: "It was a very hectic time. We opened a separate COVID area to separate patients with concerning symptoms. And there was a constant changing of requirements and guidelines by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]."

Baxter noted that Koroleva cared for as many as 10 patients per day.

CONCACAF recognized her for her efforts in April:

U.S. Soccer @ussoccer

Not all heroes wear capes. Many wear scrubs 🙏 Thank you to all the frontline workers and responders, including @ussoccer referee Katja Koroleva! #NationalSuperheroDay https://t.co/kT7e6AjoX2

Koroleva earned her master's degree in medical science from Salus University in 2011 and debuted as a professional referee in 2013.