NISL Adds Karen Swanner as League’s First Director of Officials

NISL Adds Karen Swanner as League’s First Director of Officials

Tampa, FL - The National Indoor Soccer League (NISL) announced the addition of Karen Swanner as its

first Director of Officials.

A veteran soccer official, Swanner has previously officiated professional indoor soccer in the Eastern

Indoor Soccer League (EISL), Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL), Major Arena Soccer League (MASL)

and MASL2 and for the International Dawn to Dusk events beginning in 1994. She served as the Director

of Officials for the PASL and has worked several PASL Finals and was a National Collegiate Athletic

Association (NCAA) National Referee for 18 years, officiating 17 Final Fours at all levels. Additionally, she

has worked several professional and international friendlies for US soccer, including serving as an

assistant referee for USA versus France, United Systems of Independent Soccer Leagues (USISL),

Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) and Major League Soccer (MLS).

NISL Commissioner Gary Tufford stated, "Karen brings a high level of expertise and knowledge in

officiating to the league. She is an integral part of our plan to improve and escalate the quality of NISL

soccer on all fronts. We welcome her and look forward to the 2024 season.”

Swanner has extensive experience in the professional indoor soccer world from the team level as well.

She played an integral role in the development and management of the former Buffalo Blizzard of the

NPSL, working as the franchise’s General Manager with an ownership group including franchise

partners: Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bisons and Rich Products. Together with former professional indoor

legend Jamie Swanner, she owned the St. Louis Illusion professional indoor team of the PASL for 3

years. The pair also worked together to develop community-based programming through CORE Soccer


Swanner is also a United States Soccer Federation (USSF) licensed soccer agent, instructor, assessor,

and mental performance coach, working with both collegiate teams, individuals, and officials from all

sports through her company, The Official’s Mind. A writer for Referee Magazine, she is currently working

with the publication and the National Association of Sports Officials developing mental performance

training materials for officials from all sports.

Swanner holds master’s degrees in journalism, marketing, and kinesiology, specializing in sports

psychology. She also owns a spa in Edwardsville, Illinois and is the mother of professional indoor player

Kyle Swanner of the St. Louis Ambush.

When asked about her appointment, Swanner said, “I am looking forward to this opportunity to be part of

the development and expansion of the NISL. I believe my diverse and extensive background in both the

officiating and management of professional indoor soccer, as well as my passion for the game, can

bring a creative, consistent, enthusiastic and hands on approach to the officiating aspect of the league.

This will help the officials grow and develop as the NISL continues to expand. My goal in serving as the

Director of Officials includes improving and maintaining consistency in performance, professionalism,

and superior game management. I intend to accomplish this with extensive training and a solid

infrastructure, including the mental performance aspect of the game.