2012 Summer Olympics

The referee breaking unseen barriers for women in soccer

Having made the breakthrough, the first woman referee in any of Europe's top soccer leagues is asking how long it will take for other countries to follow Germany's example.

Bibiana Steinhaus is savoring her first season among the Bundesliga's 24-member elite group, reward for her performances as a fourth official and for 10 years' work in the second division, but she hopes her success will make other leagues sit up and take notice.

"The doors are open," Steinhaus told the Associated Press in an interview at the German soccer federation's headquarters in Frankfurt. "I'm the best example that it can work."

Steinhaus, who still works part-time as a...