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U.S. Soccer Referee Mark Geiger and Assistant Referee Mark Hurd to Participate at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia

CHICAGO (May 16, 2011) – U.S. Soccer referee Mark Geiger and assistant referee Mark Hurd were invited by FIFA to participate as match officials at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup from July 29 until Aug. 20 in Colombia. Geiger and Hurd will join 15 other referees and 31 other assistant referees at the tournament.

Geiger and Hurd will travel to Bogota prior to the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which takes place across eight Colombian cities.

“I am honored to have been chosen to be one of the referees at the FIFA U-20 World Cup,” said Geiger. “This is my first FIFA competition, and I am very excited to have this opportunity. Representing myself and U.S. Soccer at various events over the past few years has been a wonderful experience and I look forward to representing CONCACAF as well this summer."

Geiger has been a member of the FIFA International Panel of Referees since 2008, officiating in Major League Soccer, the CONCACAF Champions League and several international friendly matches. The 36-year-old New Jersey-native began officiating in 1988 and become a National Referee in 2003. Geiger’s international refereeing résumé includes the 2011 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in which he officiated the final match between Mexico and Costa Rica.

Hurd joined the FIFA ranks in 2009 after becoming a referee in 1986. Hurd has refereed MLS as well as international games, CONCACAF Champions League matches and matches between professional international clubs in the U.S., including David Beckham’s first game in the U.S. when the Los Angeles Galaxy played host to Chelsea.

“I am extremely honored and excited to have been selected to represent U.S. Soccer in this competition,” said Hurd. “Over the years I have been fortunate enough to work games involving teams from around the world. I am looking forward to next the couple of months as the referee team and I continue to prepare mentally and physically for this tournament.”

Hurd has also officiated in matches involving national teams from Brazil, Mexico, Haiti, Panama, Costa Rica, Iceland, Venezuela and Turkey.

The two U.S. officials join four others from CONCACAF, including Joe Fletcher from Canada who forms part of the referee trio along with Geiger and Hurd. The other CONCACAF trio is composed of Walter Lopez, Hermenerito Leal and Gerson Lopez, all from Guatemala.