Amanda Sauer has broken ground as a football official on a number of levels, and she’s the first publicly out gay referee in professional football. She originally worked for the Alliance of American Football, and now she’s working as an umpire in the XFL.
Sauer worked the center judge position for the Alliance of American Football in the AAF’s inaugural season. In 2018 she married her wife, Michelle, though they are now divorced.
Before she joined the college circuit, Amanda and her daughters moved to her hometown in Pittsburgh. It was there that Amanda met her future wife, Michelle Cook, one of her daughter’s teachers. Becoming close friends for years before they developed a relationship, Amanda and Michelle shared a love for the game. At the time, Michelle was a running back for the Pittsburgh Passion, a team in the Women’s Football Alliance.
The two women had bonded over football, and Amanda told Football Zebras that Michelle gave her insights from a player’s perspective when they talk about officiating the game.
“She brings a great perspective of being a player when we discuss fouls or other issues that may arise in the field,” Amanda said.
The coordinator of officials for the AAF at the time was Steve Strimling, the Pac-12 referee who came out publicly on Outsports a few years ago. Strimling has consistently provided opportunities for a diverse range of officials across his career.
For Sauer’s story, which was also written by out gay football official Joshua Lewis, head over to Football Zebras.