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George Gansner to officiate his 200th MLS game

August 2, 2014

George Gansner with PRO officials

George Gansner will officiate in his 200th regular season Major League Soccer game this weekend, reaching 18,000 minutes as an MLS assistant referee.

The occasion will arrive on Sunday, August 3 at the BBVA Compass Stadium where Houston Dynamo take on DC United in an Eastern Conference encounter.

“I knew I was close, but I didn’t know I was that close. I’ve never really kept track of numbers, but it’s a great honor to have worked so many games,” Gansner told proreferees.com.

“I’ve had some great experiences, learning from the guys who were originals on the FIFA assistant referee list in 1996, which was such a benefit. If I can now teach the younger guys something, that’s huge for me.

“When soccer fans find out I’m a referee, they always ask me what’s my biggest game. The honest answer is that I don’t know. 

“The quarterfinal of the Gold Cup in 2007 was a big game, but so is every World Cup qualifier. Every MLS game is big because three points are on the line, or is it a bigger game with 110,000 people in the Rose Bowl?

“I’ve got millions of stories about this game and that, but each one is important and that’s the key to getting to these landmarks – just doing your job the best you can.”

In addition to those regular season matches, Gansner has also officiated in 29 Playoff games and plenty of international assignments over a 13-year career on the FIFA panel, which will come to an end in December 2014 after choosing in July to step down.

PRO's George Gansner and other officials at Sporting Park

The Missouri official (above, left) is in his 18th MLS season having made his professional debut on the line in 1999, working as a 4th official for two years before that. He's currently the sixth-most experienced assistant referee on the PRO roster in terms of games officiated. 

With all those miles under his belt, the 42-year-old remains as committed as ever to North American soccer.

“The fitness requirements have changed so much – they’ve gotten a lot tighter and a lot tougher. That’s happened as I’ve got older, and ideally that would go the other way, but you have to adapt.

“The analysis of officials has become a lot more intense; a bad call could make it around the world in two minutes, but I’d say that’s improved things, forcing you to stay focused.

“PRO has been a tremendous step in helping with a lot of the things we’ve needed to improve. For instance, the training programs the ARs have done over the past two years have been very specific and very effective.

“We were leading that way, but PRO has actually come in and helped to execute the plan which is tremendous for the development.

“Assistants have always been the forgotten piece and the focus has been on the referees – which is fine – but we need that type of training too and PRO has brought that to the table.

“I think a really good job is being done at bringing officials through and things will only get better."


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