For the 1st time since the 2002 World Cup the U.S. will have a referee among the 75 referees selected to officiate games in Brazil. Mark Geiger will be joined by his regular assistants Sean Hurd and Joe Fletcher.
The 39-year-old has a great resume to take to Brazil. The New Jersey high school math teacher has been calling matches in Major League Soccer since 2004 and internationally he worked the 2012 Olympic men’s event and was selected to be in the center for the 2011 Under-20 World Cup final between Brazil and Portugal.
CONCACAF will send 2 additional center referees and 4 assistants along with 4 support referees. In total there are 75 referees and 16 support referees for the tournament.
Howard Webb is the most high-profile official among the group. The England Premier League referee was in the center for the 2010 World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands. He issued 14 yellow cards and 1 red card in that game but was criticized for not giving a deserved first half red card to Nigel Dejong.
There are 4 other holdovers from 2010 – El Salvador’s Joel Aguilar, Uzbekistan’s Ravshan Irmatov, Japan’s Yuichi Nishimura and New Zealand’s Peter O’Leary – and for the first time since 1974 there is not a Frenchman at the tournament.
Brian Hall was the last U.S. referee at the World Cup. He called the Italy v Ecuador and England v Nigeria group stage matches. The U.S. has supplied 3 other referees for recent World Cups – Vincent Mauro (1990), Arturo Angeles (1994) and Esse Baharmast (1998). None of the U.S. referees have advanced past the group stage.