Premier American official Mark Geiger has been one of the best officials thus far in this years FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The MLS referee, one of only nine full-time league officials, has so far officiated two matches: Colombia's 3-0 thrashing of Greece, and Chile's 2-0 victory over Spain which eliminated the reigning champions.
The 39-year-old is a nationally recognized high school math teacher at Lacey Township High School. He was given the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 2009, but had to quit his teaching job last year in order to follow his lifelong dream.
“He knew it was going to be a tough decision. It is hard to leave. His heart was here, but it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up,” said Lacey High Principal Jim Handschuch.
Geiger has been spot on in his officiating at a time when many of the other referees at the tournament have come under question for dubious decisions. In the opening match Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura whistled for a Brazil penalty, although striker Fred went down easily and obviously looking for a call. Since then, the Japanese team hasn't been called back to officiate another match.
Geiger, who is assisted by Sean Hurd and Joe Fletcher, has spent 11 years in Major League Soccer and voted the league's Referee of the Year in 2011. He has been a FIFA international official since 2008 and refereed the 2012 Olympics in London. He made his international debut in a match between Mexico and Chile.
Geiger's brother Steve, told CBS New York that "On this stage it is absolutely a dream for him. It’s been great for us to be able to watch him at the World Cup,” Steve is hoping that his brother will be selected for the World Cup Final on July 13 at Estádio Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro.With the crew's positive performances in their two opening matches, expect to see this team officiate more matches in this tournament to come.