Referee Mark Geiger and Panama international goalkeeper Jamie Penedo. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)

NEW YORK – Mark Geiger is hanging them up and hanging out a new shingle as he takes the next step in his officiating career.

Mark Geiger Wednesday was appointed as director of senior match officials of the Professional Referee Organization. He will oversee the work of officials operating at the Major League Soccer level and will start immediately.

The new role will see the two-time MLS referee of the year Geiger retire from refereeing to join PRO’s management team after a 21-year career that saw him officiate at two World Cups, three Concacaf Gold Cups and the Olympics.

A native of New Jersey, Geiger will lead a staff that is responsible for the coaching education and continual improvement of on-field and video match officials who work in MLS.

“Having worked games in MLS for 15 years and internationally for 11, I felt it was time for me both personally and professionally to hang up my whistle and boots and start this new chapter,” Geiger said.

“I am extremely excited to join a team that is so dedicated and committed to improving the standards of refereeing in North America. I hope that my experiences will help our referees excel and take their individual games to the next level.”

Geiger first took charge of an MLS game back in 2004 when Columbus Crew SC hosted San Jose Earthquakes. He went on to referee 186 MLS regular-season matches, including showpiece games including the MLS Cup between LA Galaxy and New England Revolution in 2014.

That same year he was named as Concacaf referee of the year and MLS referee of the year (for the second time) after appearing at his first World Cup in Brazil, where he became the first American to officiate a knockout stage match, as well as being the fourth official for the World Cup semifinal between Brazil and Germany.

At the 2018 World Cup, he refereed a three games and had an additional eight assignments as Video Assistant Referee or Assistant Video Assistant Referee. His final assignment as a referee was an MLS Western Conference Championship second leg. He signed off last month as an AVAR at the 2018 FIFA Club World Cup final in Abu Dhabi.

“I’m delighted to have somebody of Mark’s caliber joining the PRO management team after he decided to call time on a truly wonderful active career,” PRO general manager Howard Webb said. “Mark is a man of huge integrity and has enormous pride in the work he does. These are qualities which make him ideal for a senior role in PRO.

“He has been a trailblazer for American officiating on the international stage and his achievements have helped to raise the credibility of our program globally. The experience and knowledge he has acquired in reaching such a high level will be extremely valuable as we look to continually raise the standard of our officials.”