Mark Geiger will have an opportunity to officiate at Russia 2018. (Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports)

The United States might not be playing in the World Cup in Russia this June and July, but three Americans will participate in the event.

FIFA Thursday named Mark Geiger and Jair Marrufo as referees for Russia 2018 and Frank Anderson and Corey Rockwell as assistant referees.

They were among 36 referees and 63 assistant referees appointed as match officials by the FIFA referees committee.

The choice of the final group of match officials selected to officiate in Russia was based on each referee’s skills and personality, as well as his level of understanding of soccer and the ability to read the game and the various tactics employed by teams.

The 99 game officials will attend a two-week seminar for two weeks in the second half of April at the technical centre of the Italian Football Association in Coverciano, Italy. The officials will be divided into two groups, which will also include video assistant referee (VAR) candidates.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at