Tuesday, 29 May 2018

On the Road to WC 2018: Stage 3, Focus on CONCACAF

After having analyzed AFC and CAF officials who will be at World Cup, now it is CONCACAF turn: the confederation of  North, Central America and Caribbean.

The following officials will be part of 2018 WC coming from CONCACAF:

Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV)
Referee: Mark Geiger (USA)
Referee: Jair Marrufo (USA)
Referee: Ricardo Montero (CRC)
Referee: John Pitti (PAN)
Referee: César Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referee: Juan Zumba (SLV)
Assistant Referee: Joe Flechter (CAN)
Assistant Referee: Frank Anderson (USA)
Assistant Referee: Corey Rockwell (USA)
Assistant Referee: Juan Carlos Mora (CRC)
Assistant Referee: Gabriel Victoria (PAN)
Assistant Referee: Marvin Torrentera (MEX)
Assistant Referee: Miguel Hernández (MEX)

The big name in this confederation is for sure Mark Geiger. The referee from USA has a big trust by FIFA committee, in addition to a very great experience. He will attend his second World Cup, after having been in Brazil in 2014. He has attended many FIFA tournaments, including the final of FIFA U20 World Cup in 2011. He has always convinced with more than good performances. According to our opinion, given also that in Brazil 4 years ago he got a Round of 16 game at his first participation, he is a name to be considered for the final. It will depend, of course, on the quality of his performances, but basically he is among the most experienced and trusted referees, among the ones outside Europe. Joe Fletcher from Canada will be at his side, as well as Frank Anderson from USA. 

The second referee in terms of experience is Joel Aguilar from El Salvador. He will be at his second World Cup as main referee, after having appearead only as reserve referee 8 years ago in South Africa. Despite of this bigger experience than Geiger as referee in FIFA tournaments, he seems to be managed differently by committee, in terms of appointments. After having offciated two group stage games in Brazil, now we could expect him in a KO game, maybe a Round of 16, but at moment it is difficult to think he could get more. He will attend this tournament with an assistant referee from a different country (USA), because his countryman William Torres has failed the physical tests. Corey Rockwell from USA will very likely replace him.

Mexican César Ramos has gained a big trust by FIFA Referees Committee in recent years. Until a few seasons ago, after the third World Cup  in a row with Marco Rodríguez as Mexican representative, Roberto García Orozco was still waiting for his call. This never happened and suddenly he was replaced by Ramos as Mexican referee for 2018 World Cup. He has attended many FIFA tournaments in recent years, 2016 Olympic tournament, 2017 Under 20 World Cup and 2017 Club World Cup, culminating in the final appointment. This is a very good ticket for WC 2018 for a referee who is still quite young (35 years old) but very experienced.  Two assistant referees from Mexico will accompany him. In case of good performances, we think we could see him in KO stage, maybe a round of 16 game, given also the big trust by committee. 

Jair Marrufo from USA should be a reserve referee. It is interesting to point out that he could have been easily listed as VAR specialist, because coming from a country with VAR. It is strange that he appears among the main referees, given that he shouldn't handle games. We will see, however our prediction is that he could work as VAR as well. 

John Pitti from Panama and Ricardo Montero from Costa Rica will be reserve referees. They both have a paired assistant referee from their respective countries. 

No VAR specialists from a confederation in which VAR is used, and that's quite particular. 


  1. OT :

    Simon Hooper and David Coote promoted to SG1

    1. Interesting promotions IMO.

      I am very surprised to read Simon Hooper, not because he isn't a good referee, he is one of the best in FL since years, but it seems he isn't a referee suited to PL (relying on an empathic relationship with players, needing their trust, not highest fitness) but moreover that he got a 7,4≥ in his debut Norwich - Crystal Palace. Much to my surprise I just found out he is only 35, so he can develop his style and have a good PL career.

      David Coote is perhaps a more expected name, a referee the FA have pushed for a long time, he was sent in a project to Japan that IIRC Anthony Taylor attended et al. I only ever watched him once, an FA Cup match Hereford - Fleetwood where he was fine. There are contrasting opinions of him on RateTheRef (as I'm sure Ray can testify to :-)), but they seem mostly positive this season.
      Another year missed for Andy Madley, it would be interesting to discover why.

      Gavin Ward, John Brooks, David Webb and Ross Joyce are reported to be the referees in contention to attend the Championship list next season. Ben Toner misses out, to my mind he would have deserved it.

      Interested to see what happens with Rob Jones. His performance in the League One Final was good, a correct penalty and doubtful only YC for carting out an elbow. I was impressed by his management and natural authority but a couple of things irritated me:
      - In spite of his athletic optic, a poor fitness especially in extra time
      - His signaling reminded me on Carlos Velasco('s bad days), I can't really explain it any other way than "going through the motions"
      But I am sure anyway he'll be a very top referee in very little time.

      Long post :-D

    2. I'm surprised at Andy Madley's absence!!

  2. OT:

    Gil Manzano reportedly promoted to Elite Group.

    Tribute video :) -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRJkCB4G1-Y

    Also Martínez Munuera to referee on Euro U19 in Finland.

    1. Expected promotion, interesting that the news has been published. Hopefully we will get soon the full list with updates.

    2. Will be Alberto be happy with these developments? :D

    3. If i remember well, he likes him :D

    4. I am hoping for Benoît Bastien promotion

    5. Same here Nathan... I too was thinking that Bastien is an even more nailed on name for promotion than Gil Manzano... Let's see what happens!!

      On other note, if Alberto is happy, I'm happy too :D

  3. Great post as well
    I guess that Geiger and Marrufo have a good experience on VAR so both of them should be appointed as VAR referees.
    I see Geiger much more as Var than central referee. I remember that in 2015 he had a disastrous semi final match at Gold Cup between mexico and Panama.

    1. Geiger is a candidate for the final actually


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