Mark Sean Hurd

Mark Sean Hurd began refereeing Jacksonville Beach youth soccer games as a 15-year-old Grade 9 Referee in 1986.  He also played soccer at Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach.  He described himself “as a player — not a very good player, a mediocre player at best, but I was a player — so I was out on the field every weekend, played through high school, started refereeing in high school a little bit to make a few extra dollars in cash on the weekends. I would play, then I would referee.”

Sean was actually a three-sport athlete by playing football in the fall, as a wide receiver, played soccer in the winter, and then track as a middle-distance runner in the spring.  When he got out of high school, he attended the University of Florida and actually walked on for the football team as a wide receiver for Coach Steve Spurrier for a couple of years.  He said he loved playing football but was modest and described himself as a “marginal athlete.”  While at the University of Florida, he was refereeing high school games, youth, and adult amateur games all over the area.

After college graduation he knew he was not going to be playing football professionally, he always found himself coming back to the soccer fields, and then the refereeing became more serious.

US Soccer records indicate Sean was a Regional Referee (State Referee grades 5 & 6) from 1997-2001 and became a National Referee January 1, 2002.

In 2006 Sean became a Professional Assistant Referee in Major League Soccer (MLS) and worked for 11 consecutive years in the MLS.  102 regular season games plus 8 playoff games.  His final match as a professional referee was when he was AR1 in the 2nd leg of the MLS Western Conference Semifinals between Colorado Rapids and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

In 2016, he was assigned to the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Final as an Assistant Referee

His work at one to two weekend national tournaments led FIFA to select him as a FIFA Assistant Referee in 2009.  His first FIFA tournament was in Trinidad and Tobago.

The following are some highlights of Sean’s career as a FIFA Assistant Referee

  • (2009-2016)
    76 career international games, with two FIFA competition Finals
  • 2011
    FIFA U20 World Cup
  • 2012
    International Olympic Games
  • 2013
    Concacaf Gold Cup
  • 2013
    FIFA Club World Cup
  • 2014
    FIFA World Cup

Many of those on-field achievements were reached alongside his long-time crew of Mark Geiger and Joe Fletcher. “Sean Hurd was the most underrated AR in the USA in my opinion,” Fletcher noted. “If people only knew how clinical he was for an entire World Cup Cycle; knocking down incredible decisions in training and more importantly in matches. With all that being said, Sean is an even better teammate and person.”

Sean has said he had many mentors along the way, there is no way he could do all of them justice. “So many different people have had an influence on me as a referee and as a person. At the local level, several took an interest in me and helped me in a number of ways: Jozsef Michna, Rodney Kenney, Brooks McCormick, and Grant Merrill to name a few. Across the country and internationally, I was fortunate to receive guidance from the likes of Esse Baharmast, Don Wilbur, Herb Silva, Alfred Kleinaitis, Paul Tamberino, Brian Hall, Rob Fereday, and Steve Taylor. Many, many others took the time to mentor me and provide me with feedback along the way, but a common thread between all of them is their undeniable passion for the game and for helping referees develop.

Sean gave the following advice to approaching games: “I maintained the same principal approach along the way and continued it:

  • 1) Preparation

    prepare mentally and physically for each match and/or event. Never stop learning.

  • 2) Execution
    preparation will help ensure you are in the best possible position when a big decision is necessary.
  • 3) Confidence (without arrogance)
    be confident in your abilities but be humble at the same time. Remember, no one is indispensable.
  • 4) Control the controllable
    Don’t let outside noise influence you. Be aware of it, but don’t let it interfere with your performance.
  • 5) Enjoy yourself
    You never know when it will be your last game, so treat each one like it is your last and enjoy the moment.

With a referee career that Mark Sean Hurd has experienced, he has to this date, the distinction of being the most accomplished Florida soccer referee in the history of FSR/FLSRC.

By virtue of his work at a FIFA World Cup 2014, Mark Sean Hurd automatically meets the criteria for induction into the FLSRC Hall of Fame for the year 2020.

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