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Mark Geiger and his exciting lifestyle as professional referee

Mark Geiger has been named MLS referee of the year 2014. He was number one for players, clubs and media, MLS announced. Number 2 and 3 were Jair Marrufo and Alan Kelly. Mark Geiger will also referee the 2014 MLS final.

2014 was a great year for Mark Geiger. The best moment maybe is 2:24 am on 15th of January 2014. At that moment an e-mail was sent to Mark Geiger from Uefa Headquarters with the news that he’d be a referee at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. “I woke up to an email and a couple of text messages from friends. An outstanding experience just to wake up and see that email”, Geiger told AP.

Refereeing for pocket money

At the age of 13, Mark Geiger became a football referee. The reason? He needed some pocket money and this was a far better way of getting some extra bucks than the other kids. It took him 15 years from 1988 to become a National Referee in 2003. Since 2014 he has been officiating in Major League Soccer. After 4 years on the higest national level he became a Fifa referee.

Mark Geiger, Sean Hurd and Joe Fletcher.  Photo published with courtesy of Professional Soccer Referee Association (PSRA)
Mark Geiger, Sean Hurd and Joe Fletcher. Photo published with courtesy of Professional Soccer Referee Association (PSRA)

After the 2010 World CUp Fifa boss Sepp Blatter announced that he doesn’t want part-time referees anymore. “You can’t have non-professional referees in professional football”, Blatter said. Not everybody changed his career, Björn Kuipers is for example a supermarket owner, but Geiger did. On January 2013, he made refereeing in Major League Soccer his full-time job. “It was It was something I would have to do”, he told on the website of Lacey Township High School, the school he was a math teacher at. “It’s a new opportunity. It’s going to be a new lifestyle. It’s exciting.”

The moment was right for him. “Timingwise, it couldn’t have been more perfect,” he said. “I’ve seen improvements in myself. I don’t have that stress while I’m at the tournament worrying about what my students are doing back home.”

Mark Geiger’s international career

After Geiger became an international referee, he got some big games. During 2011’s u20 World Cup he got 2 group stage matches, a last 16 match and finnaly the final between Brazil in Portugal. His team back then was the same as the assistants he’ll go to Brazil with now: American assistant referee Mark Hurd and Canadian assistant referee Joe Fletcher.

In 2011 he also became MLS referee of the year. In 2012 Geiger went to the London Olympics as referee and in 2013 he got appointed for the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup. Mark Geiger could be come the first American referee who officiates a match beyond the group stage.

“If you don’t do well there, the tournament is done,” Geiger said. “We need to focus on that first game wholeheartedly, make sure we nail that and get it right.”

Want to see more of how Mark Geiger prepares for matches? Check those video’s from Major League Soccer from 2011. He was then a teacher, so he has now more time for refereeing and preparatin, but video’s still worth watching.

Part 1 of MlS Major League documentary

Part 2 of MlS Major League documentary


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