Mark Geiger, the American referee who officiated the 2014 World Cup match between Nigeria and France is retiring after 15 seasons in Major League Soccer (MLS).
“At 48 when the next World Cup would happen, I didn’t think I would be at the same point that I am right now,” he said. “The body starts breaking down. And I wouldn’t want to go out after a bad tournament.”
The Professional Referee Organization, which oversees on-field officials in the United States and Canada, said Wednesday the 44-year-old will become its director of senior match officials. He will lead coaching education for MLS officials and report to former Premier League referee Howard Webb, PRO’s general manager.
Geiger has been bothered by his left Achilles tendon. He thinks it is more from wearing soccer cleats than from working in a league that had five stadiums with artificial turf last season.
A former math teacher from Beachwood, New Jersey, Geiger became the second American to referee at two World Cups, after David Socha in 1982 and 1986.
Geiger refereed three matches at each of the last two World Cups, including round of 16 matchups between France and Nigeria in 2014, and between England and Colombia last year.
The match against France on June 30, 2014 was the 100th international appearance of former Super Eagles captain, Joseph Yobo.
After scoring an own goal in the 2–0 defeat, Yobo announced his international retirement, saying: “This is it. I can look back on my career with great pride. I wanted to leave on a high for my country. Defeat by France was not the right way to go but I’m happy with all I’ve done for the national team. It’s time to give a chance to other people to come through.”
Geiger also refereed the 2014 MLS Cup final, three CONCACAF Gold Cups, the 2016 Copa America and the 2012 Olympics and Club World Cup.
He was joined by Jair Marrufo at last year’s World Cup, making the US the only nation with two referees at the tournament. But no American has refereed a World Cup match from the quarterfinals on.