Mark Geiger, 39, is currently serving as the first American in years to serve as the main soccer referee in the World Cup. Geiger is one of the few professional full-time referees from the United States, but his reputation for controversial calls could come back to haunt him in Brazil.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He’s One of 9 Full-Time MLS Referees
Mark Geiger is one of 9 people employed full-time as a referee for the Major League Soccer in the United States. He was appointed to this position in 2004, and became an official FIFA referee in 2008, serving as a ref in a number of international tournaments including the 2011 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.
2. He Already Refereed Colombia vs Greece
When Geiger was first told by FIFA that he would be one of the 25 referees taking center field at the World Cup, he was originally assigned to work Saturday’s Colombia vs Greece game.
After that game went off smoothly and Geiger gave a great performance, FIFA assigned him a second game, a rare and coveted honor for a World Cup ref.
3. He Used to Be a New Jersey High School Math Teacher
NJ.com reports that Geiger was once a High School math Teacher who won a Presidential Award for excellence for his teaching.
He told the Washington Post, “When I was in the classroom, it was 25 or 30 students each with a different learning style. On the soccer field you have 22 different players, each with different personalities. So it’s about recognizing what’s going to work with a particular player and then implementing that.”
4. He Been Accused of Make the Games All About Him
In 2012, the Washington D.C. United’s coach called one game the, “Geiger show” because of how much attention his calls took away from the players.
The comment came after Geiger ejected 3 players and removed a penalty kick point in a single game.
The coach went on to say, “He wants to make the big call to change games. It was his show tonight. It’s not about the players.”
5. He’s Refereeing the Spain vs Chile Game
Geiger is refereeing Wednesday’s World Cup match between Spain and Chile. You can follow our live coverage of the game here: