Ep. 15 - World Cup Referee Mark Geiger

Bart Winkler
Tuesday, August 21st
The United States Men's Soccer Team didn't qualify for the World Cup, but one American still made it to the knockout stage. New Jersey native Mark Geiger joins the Winks Thinks Podcast to recall his experience in Russia. Plus, his thoughts on pro/rel, the MLS style of play, and what he'll do after officiating. 

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

When things podcast. Today all right so this podcast. A vicious popping up for you it's another soccer line and this view. Got here for a reason let's get right into it mark Geiger. Is the name you may know if you follow. Soccer such an American soccer he's a referee. And he did the World Cup and Tony fourteen and use it with a decent twenty. England Colombia match. A Columbia Greece and Tony fourteen Spain chilling Tony fourteen France Nigeria around sixteen this year he did Portugal mop on Morocco. South Korea Germany in Colombia England. So recover few things of mark grow quake and he's also a lot. Toddler bit above his book he's a part of what National Geographic kids it's an absolute experts series and they do a bunch of bunch of different things it's in a candle bookie finding your. In your elementary school library in the songs on soccer and he contributed so we'll ask about that it is a cool book if you got kids and they like sacker. I'm a nineteen paid to talk about this I just. I'm looking through the capping they send me I would I would get it. I'm absolute experts soccer if you have kids. And they play soccer. Game then this book that's. That's an LC. As far as Margaret talk about a bunch of different things on the net try to press and see how much money he makes during World Cup game. Because I am really in just that I've been a rough most of my life. Rafts. As a kid growing up soccer and then I did high school games in some college. On a Moodle cross I kept pressing and it was a way to make money and you did. Bill motto money differ rafting is more than you should get its typically has signed. Seoul will pressing a little bit on that on asking about. The instant replay can stop the VA are. And if you like stat that human element is being taken away in sports a little bit. And then maybe don't talk to him a little bit about the things I always rant and rave about. Promotion relegation MLS how much it sucks. I'll talk to mark Geiger about that is he rest in MLS and was a one time. MLS rest of the year so we'll see what he talks about there as we talked with professional referee. Mark Geiger so you did the World Cup for years ago and then this year you rest if I'm not mistaken. Three matches including England Colombia. And that is such a thrill I got that can you just I've raft that like a high school and sort of college level. What would I even understand how to raffle World Cup game I mean just the thriller that must be for you. Not against the same you know it whether kids their rightful owner or the professional international bridge and the outlook I'll. The difference in the elected. The ball moved from either fatality the players and and the magnitude of the decisions that we make on the field but the album and now. Yeah I know that others you know youth twelve parents around the country that act like their kids are in the World Cup but it didn't do it at that level. You started wrestling do I have that right in 1988. Yeah I was thirteen years old when I took our first past. So did you play soccer as well or you know you think that. Somebody getting in the soccer that like soccer might take that route of playing soccer when did you realize that it was the officiating that you were more interest and in. However I started when I was six years old as a player and don't play it up I call him. Permeate just I was not going to advance to play college. And little nagging injuries aren't your marriage is an and I knew I wasn't going to be a professional player haters go. And I got to bring in our starter about when I was thirteen years old just make little bit of money on the side and when I realized. More out there first soccer on a personal level is getting started when I by finish collagen. I made a goal in my mind there roughly one game in Ramallah. Things went well there may be I guess a payment not at least spectacular shot but I had. I don't move it up by I really enjoyed it like being out he'll look players and I was open it would take me as far as I know. How would you say because you have gone as far I mean you've you've been to the World Cup obviously the World Cup final would be the end all be all what you've done America station World Cup here this last round. Are being another one of month. How do you. How do you like advance how to how do you get better is it just practice and people notice you'd do you apply how did you end up from. The the goal of I want to do one MLS game two I'm resting in the World Cup. That is very similar path to which a player takes on you start off doing the little kid and then. You get the operate games that by the right people and aid to test new and bigger better matchup. Go to your state cut your regional championship on national finals and then ultimately get into the professional ranks but it really just being beaten by the right people the right time I'm on the right day. Mark Geiger now you've helped write a book absolute experts soccer in this is for kids National Geographic cannot touch on this if you in a minute. I I I found interest Iowa is talked to you because. The refereeing is something that. I've done throughout my life and I do enjoy it there's something about you know being able to be in the action in in the it's not that I want to have the power controller but it is it is and everything so I've always wondered. 'cause I've drafted the highest level ice arrest high schools say yes you know sixty bucks for had an and 35 for a line whenever. Thomas you may in the world governor World Cup game policymakers. I say they expect good monthly salary that's for sure though that the amount of time that we look at. And it's not about money. You know you you're trying to get to that very often and you're there and they paid us absolutely nothing I think every single pretty that was there with bill. Yes I would I would accept it he beat him two years ago by. I hear you pay pretty well a mile. To sucker correctly all our fault I'm contracts. So it's something that you can truly make a living out of right now. OK so it's like get yearly salary and not. Yeah because not all of the only way I've ever gotten paid as rappers. OK because the only way of ever campaign is a grasses before the game had better get my sixty bucks or Ryan do on this game. A yes exactly but with with Major League soccer earlier we are old timer threes. And then in the World Cup it's not like. The English coach has to pay you half and in the Columbia could codes raising my other half. Up up up a now known now. All right so you get this they yearly salary from memo last. For one World Cup game can you tell me what that payment and has. They did say it beauties get a a monthly fee like that Feeley got 8000 dollars and there there was money on top order per game based on which position here where I'm. Okay now okay so the senator guy is more than the lines it is because a little bit more. Yeah reacted lining I would like lining the college game today's run up and down because size did eighty vox it's real easy. I I like to tell kids to when I was I've been involved in soccer analyzed for ways insult. I was a referee coordinator and funnel like for their club you don't is that it's in Wisconsin. But I'd like to do that because. This is a good way for kids to be active and I I was thought hey this a good way to make money you guys in the need to rest these gains amid a little bit of money. Absolutely. Son of building our interpersonal skills also army has big gains in market because he excuse connect with people out on the field so that I mean not just about money but they're getting social skills and it's they're really good benefit but it it. Now older worker and has a twelve year old when I first started arresting mark the allure also for me instead of the you know ten box was. I was I was in power so when I was younger that is what I like and I I just dreamed of yelling in a Farrah coach tonight. I dreamed that power and I quickly learned. That is the wrong way to go about things you let the world top. Alexi allows us talking about should a little bit down on how much of that UConn. About maybe the lack of respect other people might have for American rest mark Geiger. Is it a rest re the World Cup. He's an American rep re the World Cup and because of his nationality he's receiving additional criticism for his performance in the England Colombia game. And guess what. That's fine. Welcome to the life of an American in the world's game. As players coaches fans media and refereeing is we've always understood and accepted that we will often be treated and judged differently. We are tolerate it underneath the Baylor respect can be a layer of resentment and disregard that manifests at different times and a different weights are major sin. Coming from a country and culture where soccer is an okay. There is also would jealousy and fear that America and Americans are approaching on the one thing that traditionally has been owned by the rest of the world. The one thing that the American superpower couldn't touch. But while this is the reality for Americans in the game. It is no excuse we can't and don't play the victim. Like the isn't fair and soccer is there. Figure it out into early good you have to be great. Because you'll often be devalued simply for being American factored into everything that you do you get no benefit of the doubt. You'll get no second chance. And your mistakes we framed by your nationality. Mark Geiger the American refereeing is taking additional heat but because he's American he could take the heat that comes with the territory. Did you find any of that in the world copper is he just talking to time. I don't know I think I think there's some credibility to what he says he. Referees that come. There are countries that are first world countries than in the or soccer countries that are purple countries in terms of the sport. You know what soccer is a relatively new sport. In the US I mean nonetheless has been around at 23 seasons where it is because England. DE PL a has been around for many more years of that ilk. The culture in certain countries. Is a little bit stronger than than another so. They're going to be refereed accomplish our country where you hope that they're gonna be stronger than others just. The cause. That background that their come from that really has nothing to do it there individual talents but I just the perception of people out. How different is it Rafael World Cup game. Then an MLS game. There's eight in terms the players then and the speed of the game it's not the very different you know I know. There's a little bit boring body a little bit more butterflies in the stomach before he stepped out onto. The world stage but I get out and similar game as well. There's every decision that you make is is going to be very important I. Are you get a few more of those international stars and all cup classic they have. I bought it by certainly the analyst game has improved. Over the years and we do have some of the best players of the world playing currently in an apple. Do you notice. And like and increase since Geller pays sir what's maybe the biggest difference from. Which you Norris from the players is apace as its skill isn't the speed of the game. It's all that the game has just grown so much in the past. Ten years. That beginning in 1996 MM all around her and use our 23 team a year 23. And lecture or adding another team. And we're getting. Bigger and better stars are not just players that are looking to come over to retire I'll be here we're now getting players that are in their prime coming for Europe. Central and South America. And an uncle or even younger than their prime they're not even there yet so. The the overall skill and the attraction of Pamela has gotten so much better of the ears and I'm looking reports he was gonna be like in the next spot and from here. I thought I read somewhere that every one cannot unofficially learns English and that you guys all rafts in English is that true or how to otherwise if you guys don't know the same language to communicate with the players. Yes all the right Korea's. Must have a working knowledge of English because a lower aren't sure auction estimate pushed on order for us at the same considerations in the Spain. Our consistency going out on the the other accord a direct result. Speaks some English. First the players there's really no language that they must now it just so happens that many of them do know English. Why they're going to be some teams out there were difficult to communicate with them because you know I speak English obviously and I speak a little bit astonished by it. As far as the other languages it's just not there say he used Whipple Tony's body language expression on here say there. Guess street were there and stake in camera that's like pop into your hat. You know he has certainly knows when Europe that would come by the Tony you're always been a bad thing with the players you know. Even if he'd stayed on understanding question you're saying something with or an expression on your space and this is gonna get across. As far as your time in the World Cup by and believe you did three games in the middle. And then you assisted a few lines the video the VA are you did a few of those. Our do you like that in. Eight total deal like that that implementation of the video and in the replay I have a hard time. A dude doing this for show we talked baseball and football and I talk a lot about how all if your. If your any game I think that the refereeing is another thing that you have to be used to beat the opponent. Yes to beat the officiating good or bad yesterday the weather. And I like that there's a human element to the refereeing but I feel like we're getting more. Away from that and a baseball they wanna do some people want to robotic strike zones and senate. An umpire calling it I think that it's good to get it right but I don't want it to be where. I'll robot could call a game I think that there should be some judgment should be some human element so how did you adapt and how do you like the video implementation with a replay. Personally I love it I mean be human element is still there because we are. I'm only implementing VA are in a limited number. Instances. The most direct credit cards penalties people are mistaken identity some bold the follow that happen are most of the situation that happened on a deal. Don't fit into one of those categories c.s still have that human element you still have that interaction. And management that directories gonna have to have with each of the players and and the teams so that's all there. One of the worst things Burma bring it to go home put in the video that game re watcher of learning. Our long penalty decision or use incorrectly sent off a player then send off the player that should repent. No this is gonna correct those game changing decision and it interestingly the statistics all around the world there's. Seems to be a lot of consistency that BA are only being used one time every three game on average. The worst not getting a lot of interruptions in the match and it still has the same glow that were being a stalker. Tell me about the book that you helped contribute on an right this is a National Geographic kids book. Paging through here and and do a capping it looks like it's. It's a good sort of instruction to the game not just for kids but. With the origin here and a lot of different rules and I think it's a good refresher and even for. Somebody who's been around a game like me I think I'll enjoy taking a look at this. Yes so of the absolute expert at the series that's put out by National Geographic soccer is the first book in the series. They're picking topics that a lot of kids in the US and Canada are familiar way of joy. Being a part of I parked there are two popular so our people contributing to each book there's an author of this particular approach it are by. And then there's a quote unquote experts and each of books in the series so I made was the expert for this period. My AR contribution was the right Ballmer and the introduction to each of the sport chapters and then. As I read through Eric writing that chapter I would it comment and the little. A bit. From my experience it on the different things that he was talking about. In this particular book there are four chapters it does go through became a now learning about soccer Mexico but he argued that are there although it back 2500 year. We talk about soccer around the world and passion and energy the spectator how it. And the world are and then finishes up with soccer in North America talking about. The the men and women. Soccer stars that we have in the USA Canada so. It was a really interesting book for me to be part of I learned a lot especially when talking about the arch in Iraq and a lot of Arab that I was not aware broke so. You infer adult does something bad I think they'll find interest it. Market you don't have days I don't know if you can comment or are wide. Do you have opinions and promotion relegation and America and if they should do winter schedule on the MLS if you can't comment I cannot. Include recent podcast. I heard. Not edit edit. Spurred me on the united like the system that we have it has benefit in the has some drawbacks as well and that's gonna veto it if we moved to a winter schedule we moved to promotion relegation. You know it but culturally it's something very different than we're used to here in the United States. No I don't know how it would work. That. On the referees thoughts on something I really need to worry about it should go and do the games that. And I'm given an on the signed. I would have to think your urine goal would be to do World Cup final would that be fair. I think my walkout might be done I think it's time for me to step aside on the international stage and not let the next person come through a lot in two World Cup's six games you know it. It's an international experience. Well I'm 44 years old at that point though I don't I don't know how much luck and it dealt with the international space battle. But I'm certainly happy with everything that that you might he have accomplished so that past eight years. What would you look to do that after your officiating career is done. Now there's there's so many options you know I still want to be involved in soccer whether our structure I have administrator aspect there. Don't wanna work with referees and develop the rest freeze that we have here in the US after a pro. And but I can also always go back to teaching those tons of options they do stay involved and do. Two look forward to my future. OK I would say I would suggest there is. We. We are instructors for when we would do the research class for for refereeing. Man they were so boring so you could find a way to like life in those things up a that would help. That that's my that's my career aspiration for you. Mark hit good look at school. I'll make sure people find out about this it's cool book again it's a National Geographic kids acts absolute expert. And it's the soccer edition in a lot from mark Geiger and there. Cole attack you for a few minutes mennonite. And the referee in the soccer nerds so this is this is kind of fun and I appreciate your time. Our work.