The U.S. has a couple of reasons to celebrate after FIFA released its list of World Cup referees for this summer: for the first time since 2002 and American will officiate on the world's grand stage, while 2010 villain Koman Coulibaly will be nowhere to be found on a World Cup field.
Mark Geiger, a referee who has come under plenty of criticism in MLS circles over time but has been a veteran of the profession for more than a decade, will be the first American since Brian Hall in '02 to officiate a World Cup game (Kevin Stott was a support referee for the 2006 World Cup in Germany). Geiger was MLS' Referee of the Year in 2011, and he was most recently a fourth official for the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup final between Bayern Munich and Raja Casablanca in Morocco.
As an American, he will not be refereeing any U.S. national team games in Brazil. Fellow American Sean Hurd and Canadian Joe Fletcher will complete his refereeing team this summer. MLS put together an intriguing video series with Geiger -- who doubles as a teacher -- back in 2011, detailing his process:
Coulibaly, meanwhile, was at the center of a controversy in 2010, when he disallowed Maurice Edu's goal against Slovenia, which would have given the USA a dramatic 3-2 win (after being 2-0 down and staring certain death in the face).
Instead, the Americans had to settle for a 2-2 draw and go down to the wire to reach the knockout stage, defeating Algeria on Landon Donovan's stoppage time goal to win Group C.
Other referees of note in Brazil include English veteran Howard Webb, who officiated the 2010 final; Mexican Marco Antonio Rodriguez (aka Chiquidracula); and Salvadoran Joel Aguilar, who worked the USA's SnowClasico against Costa Rica in March.
The full list can be found here.