Mark Geiger awarded a red card to Panamanian player Luis Tejeda in a 2015 Gold Cup match that ended in a 2-1 victory for Mexico.

Mark Geiger is a former math teacher turned soccer referee who’s presided over World Cup games.
He reflects on difficult decisions and the experience of making calls in front of huge crowds. 
He’s training referees on the controversial VAR system that “makes the game as fair as possible.”

This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Mark Geiger, a 48-year-old referees’ instructor who is at the 2022 men’s soccer World Cup in Qatar. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I was 13 when I took my first refereeing course in 1988. Doing under-eight matches back then, I never expected I’d be going to a World Cup.

Getting started can be difficult. You can have parents and coaches yelling and giving you nonsense. You need to develop a thick skin and understand that soccer is a very passionate but great game to be a part of.

I started moving up the ranks, got my state referee badge and was doing amateur soccer. I got my national badge in 2003 and worked in Major League Soccer as a referee from 2004 to 2018. I’m a two-time MLS Referee of the Year. Since 2018, I’ve been the director of senior match referees, basically overseeing the MLS referees, assistant referees and video match officials.

I spent 17 years as a math teacher

I taught at Lacey Township High School in New Jersey, then I’d hop on a plane Friday afternoon, do my match, come back on Sunday and start the process all over again.

I hung the flags of the countries that football brought me to in the classroom, places like Guyana and all through Central America.

I enjoyed it, but didn’t realize how tired I was until I stopped teaching to referee full-time. It’s pretty demanding physically. In a match, you can run seven to eight miles. I would nap on game day. I had a school system which worked with me a lot, taking time off when I needed for particular matches that might be during the week. 

This wasn’t going to work anymore.

I was really tired during the week and only referee on the weekends. I resigned from teaching to focus 100% on refereeing when the professional referees’ organization came about in 2013, and we started having camps every two weeks in …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

I’ve refereed World Cup soccer games. You have to avoid social media or it will ruin your life.

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