- About PRO
June 17, 2014
By PRO Match Official Development Manager Brian Hall
Amidst a sea of yellow and chants of ole, ole, ole . . . the best team of the day were the men in red. Mark Geiger, Sean Hurd and Joe Fletcher conducted the best symphony of the first eight matches. The USA-Canadian team was a musical delight.
Mark’s whistles were in perfect tone. Sean’s and Joe’s flags were crisp and waved brilliantly in the day’s breeze.
Soccer fans and enthusiasts around the world witnessed masters at work. Masters who had a feel for the importance of the moment and translated that feel into the performance of the tournament.
Why was the Geiger team performance so masterful? First, it was the movement and positioning Mark exhibited for 90-plus minutes. Mark anticipated play and worked to take proactive positions that allowed him to make optimal decisions.
Second, the performance included a management style that fitted the teams, the atmosphere of the game and the moment. Mark incorporated a professional approach as he interacted with the players. He communicated with the players using a calm and confident presence. He was in control and authoritative in a positive manner.
As simple as it sounds, Mark’s use of the whistle demonstrated his comfort with the game. On this day, the whistle conveyed a message to the players. The tone reflected the situation and was used as a tool to communicate. The more important the situation, the louder and longer the whistle blew.
Disciplinary sanctions were timely and warranted. The players earned the yellow cards. They were given with a purpose.
Finally, Mark did an exceptional job distinguishing between normal contact and unfair contact - a foul. Mark displayed an ability to decipher normal, soft contact from contact that was careless or reckless. As a consequence, the game had a flow and the players were given a stage to display their skills without undue interference by the referee.
As you, the PRO family, and worldwide soccer fans watched Mark, Sean and Joe walk off the field in Belo Horizonte after 90 entertaining minutes, we all must have felt as the trio did when they walked onto the field with the FIFA anthem ringing in the background – goose bumps on their skin and tingling all over their bodies. On this day, all referees were given a lesson on how to work on the world stage.
As a result of their performance, our referee team has earned the right to conduct another game. On June 18, we will have the chance to see the masters at work as they take the field in the historic Maracana Stadium in Rio De Janiero. Spain versus Chile is the task at hand.
A critical match for a well-oiled machine. A fitting appointment for a world-class referee team. Once again, PRO and the soccer community will be cheering the team on from afar.
This is Brian Hall's second blog of his World Cup series. Visit proreferees.com next week for the third edition.