Top American soccer referee Mark Geiger is retiring

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Mark Geiger, the first American to referee in the knockout stage of the World Cup, is retiring after 15 seasons in Major League Soccer.

The Professional Referee Organization, which oversees on-field officials in the United States and Canada, plans to announce Wednesday that the 44-year-old will become its director of senior match officials. He will report to former Premier League referee Howard Webb, PRO's general manager.

Geiger says "at 48, when the next World Cup would happen, I didn't think I would be at the same point that I am at right now."

He has been bothered by his left Achilles tendon.

A former math teacher from Beachwood, New Jersey, Geiger became the second American to referee at two World Cups, after David Socha in 1982 and 1986. Geiger refereed three matches at each of the last two World Cups, including round of 16 matchups between France and Nigeria in 2014, and between England and Colombia last year. He also refereed the 2014 MLS Cup final.