Jacksonville Beach soccer ref to face the spotlight of the World Cup

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Jacksonville Beach’s Sean Hurd will take his turn Saturday in the white-hot spotlight of the World Cup in Brazil, where he will become the first American assistant referee to work a Cup game.


Hurd is part of an officiating crew that has been assigned the Colombia-Greece match in Belo Horizonte. It starts at noon EST. He’ll work one of the sidelines, making offside calls and assisting on fouls.


He’s one of just two Americans invited to ref at the World Cup; the other is the head referee of his crew, Mark Geiger.


There’s a lot of pressure: Referees are in the spotlight in Brazil, especially after a questionable penalty-kick call in favor of the host country in Thursday’s opener, followed by some puzzling calls that went against Mexico in the second game.


That pressure, though, goes with the job, with comes with multiple TV angles that open up second-guessing on every play.


“There’s no hiding any more,” Hurd said in an interview in February, after he was named a World Cup official.


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