Mark Geiger becomes first American to referee in Round of 16
Not only did the U.S. Men’s National Team move through to the Round of 16, American referee Mark Geiger is moving on as well. He will be the first American to referee a knockout stage match in the World Cup.
Geiger is scheduled to take the center of the France-Nigeria match on Monday June 30 at 12 pm eastern time. It will be his third match in the competition after the Colombia-Greece and Spain-Chile matches in the group stages.
Geiger has been very steady this World Cup, having zero controversial calls over his two matches. It is another reward for a referee, who continues to get called upon to referee at the world’s biggest stages. He took charge in matches at the 2012 London Olympics, was in the center for a fifth place match at the Club World Cup as well as the fourth official for the finals. He also became the first American to referee the final of a major FIFA men’s tournament, taking the center for the U-20 championship match in 2011.
The Beachwood, New Jersey native will look to continue to use his whistle correctly and effectively. If he has another strong officiating performance, he could very well continue on in the World Cup to the latter stages and possibly the final.
Geiger, who retired from teaching math to become a professional referee, has earned his right to get a knockout stage game. His refereeing has earned plaudits and deservedly so. There is no reason to expect anything less when France-Nigeria kicks off on Monday.
Geiger continues to be a pioneer in terms of American referees. His excellence should come to be the standard that all referees from CONCACAF set themselves to. He has certainly already lived up to the expectations at this year’s tournament.
“I don’t think he’ll be making any mistakes,” Michael Kennedy, a former FIFA referee that monitors Geiger’s referee performances in Major League Soccer for PRO (Professional Referee Organization) told the Washington Post before the start of the tournament.
“At the end of the day, he’s got that mentality and toughness and fitness to get in there, stay close to play and find the right angle to get it right.”