One of North American soccer’s top referees is entering a new chapter in his career, via a new role with the Professional Referee Organization.
PRO announced on Wednesday that Mark Geiger has been appointed as director of senior match officials, a new role in which he’ll oversee the work of officials operating at the MLS level, effective immediately.
As part of the shift, Geiger – a two-time MLS Referee of the Year award winner – will retire from refereeing after an illustrious 21-year career marked by his work 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 responsible for coaching education and continual improvement of both on-field and Video Assistant Referee officials 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," said Geiger in a statement.
“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 made his MLS refereeing debut in May 2004, in a Columbus Crew SC vs. San Jose Earthquakes match, and he went on to ref 186 regular-season games in the league as well as several showpiece games like the MLS Cup final between the LA Galaxy and New England Revolution in 2014.
That year he also appeared at his first World Cup, becoming the first US referee to oversee a knockout stage match, as well as being the fourth official for the semifinal between Brazil and Germany, in addition to winning both 2014 Concacaf Referee of the Year and MLS Referee of the Year honors.
At last year's World Cup, Geiger refereed three games and had another eight assignments as a VAR or Assistant Video Assistant Referee (AVAR). His final assignment as a center official was last year’s MLS Western Conference Championship Leg 2 match between Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers, and he signed off last month as an AVAR at the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi.
“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,” said PRO GM Howard Webb.
“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.”