Builder - Sonia Denoncourt

Born: Sherbrooke, Quebec, June 25, 1964.Sonia Denoncourt

If Olympic gold medals were awarded to officials for refereeing in an Olympic final then Sonia would be a Gold medal winner. She refereed thewomen's Olympic Final in Sydney, Australia in 2000 between the United States and Norway. Sonia was also the first person to referee a game in the finals of the first ever Womens Olympic Football Tournament. She started refereeing in 1978 and worked her way up until she reached the international level and was the first female referee in Canada to be on the FIFA list. She received the Ray Morgan Memorial Award in 1995, the first woman to receive this prestigious award. Sonia also refereed in the American Professional Soccer League from 1993 to 1996, and at the World University Games in Hamilton in 1993. In the second Women's World Cup in Sweden in 1995 she refereed three games and in 1996 three games including the opening game, quarter final and semifinal of the first Olympic Games Women's competition held in the southern U.S. Later, also in 1996, she became the first woman to referee a mens first division game in El Salvador and in 1997 a men's first division game in Brazil. In 1997 she refereed the first FIFA World Female all-star game played in California and in 1999 she the opening game of the Women's World Cup at Giants Stadium in New York. During the 2003 Women's World Cup Sonia refereed the semifinal between Germany and the United States, considered to be the finest women's game of all time, and much of the credit for that went to her officiating. In terms of international appearances she refereed over 100 games, plus thousands of other games at all levels. In January of this year she was appointed as one of 25 FIFA referee instructors. She announced her retirement from refereeing on July 6, 2004, but will continue in her role as referee development coordinator with the CSA.