The Professional Referee Organization is pleased to announce that Mark Geiger, one of the most heralded U.S. referees over the past two decades, has been appointed as Director of Senior Match Officials. He will oversee the work of officials operating at the Major League Soccer level with immediate effect.
The new role will see the two-time MLS Referee of the Year Geiger retire from refereeing to join PRO’s management team after an illustrious 21-year career that saw him officiate at two FIFA World Cups, three Concacaf Gold Cups and the Olympic Games.
As Director of Senior Match Officials, Geiger will lead a team of staff who are responsible for the coaching education and continual improvement of on-field and video match officials who work in MLS.
“Having worked games in MLS for 15 years and internationally for 11, I felt it was time for me both personally and professionally to hang up my whistle and boots and start this new chapter,” the New Jersey native said.
“I am extremely excited to join a team that is so dedicated and committed to improving the standards of refereeing in North America. I hope that my experiences will help our referees excel and take their individual games to the next level.”
Geiger first took charge of an MLS game back in May 2004 when Columbus Crew SC hosted San Jose Earthquakes, and he went on to referee 186 regular season games in MLS, plus showpiece games including the MLS Cup between LA Galaxy and New England Revolution in 2014.
That same year he was named as both the Concacaf Referee of the Year and MLS Referee of the Year (for the second time) after appearing at his first World Cup in Brazil, where he became the first American to referee a knockout stage match, as well as being the fourth official for the World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Germany.
At last year’s World Cup, he refereed a further three games and had an additional eight assignments as Video Assistant Referee (VAR) or Assistant Video Assistant Referee (AVAR). His final assignment as a center official was an MLS Western Conference Championship Second Leg and he signed off last month as an AVAR at the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi.
PRO General Manager Howard Webb added: “I’m delighted to have somebody of Mark’s caliber joining the PRO management team after he decided to call time on a truly wonderful active career. Mark is a man of huge integrity and has enormous pride in the work he does. These are qualities which make him ideal for a senior role in PRO.
“He has been a trailblazer for American officiating on the international stage and his achievements have helped to raise the credibility of our program globally.
“The experience and knowledge he has acquired in reaching such a high level will be extremely valuable as we look to continually raise the standard of our officials.”