American referee Mark Geiger and U.S. men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann both share the same goal of getting out of the group stages at the World Cup this summer. Both will also need a solid opening game if they want to progress to the latter stages of the tournament.
Geiger, a referee in MLS, is looking to become the first American referee to advance from a World Cup group stage. His first assignment could be any game from the seven groups not involving Klinsmann’s USA squad. FIFA won’t reveal the referee match schedule until a few days before kickoff.
"If you don't do well there, the tournament is done," Geiger said Thursday after a training seminar at FIFA for World Cup referees and assistants. "We need to focus on that first game wholeheartedly, make sure we nail that and get it right." Should he pass that test, the former math teacher acknowledged that it would be his dream to officiate the final. "It's like any team, any player, any coach, you want to be in the final," the 39-year-old said. Geiger noted that up until now, the highlight of his career was officiating the final of the U-20 World Cup between Brazil and Portugal in 2011, which the former won 3-2.