Valley man was referee for 2018 FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is the ultimate international competition, a showcase for soccer's brightest lights. The tournament, however, also has a distinctly local flavor for fans from the Valley of the Sun, as one of the officials who has worked the games calls North Phoenix home.

Corey Rockwell started as a college soccer player at Georgia Tech before he became a ref. He's worked Major League Soccer games in the U.S. for years. It was, however, a long road to soccer's biggest stage.

"First, you have to be FIFA certified. I've been one of 9 FIFA refs in the U.S. for about 9 to 10 years," said Rockwell.

It didn't take long for Rockwell to find himself in the middle of the action.

"The assignments on field: the Belgium-Runisia game. Assistant ref Belgium vs. Tunisia and video booth for two games as well," said Rockwell. "It was amazing when we walked on field for first time."

Some of Corey's biggest fans: his kids.

"It feels good because he refs good players like Ronaldo, Suarez. Neymar, Messi and all that stuff," said Rockwell's son, Chase.

Rockwell is looking forward to working the next FIFA World Cup in the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar in 2022. His brothers, Dalton and Sawyer, are also big fans of soccer. Rockwell's wife, Krista, is a big fan too.

One might be wondering how much money Rockwell will make for his work at the FIFA World Cup. Rockwell said he has no idea, as FIFA, the world soccer organization that puts on the tournament, hasn't told him.

Rockwell, however, said he's happy to have had this incredible experience.