Honoring Beachwood’s “First Famly of Soccer”
Thousands of drivers every day along Route 166 in Beachwood pass a sign at the intersection of Beachwood Boulevard that draws attention to the borough’s Citizen of the Year.
I had that distinction in 2012 (it must have been a bad year for candidates) and retiring Borough Clerk Bette Mastropasqua has “owned” the sign for the past year. This week a new name will take the spotlight, as last night Mayor Ron Roma and the Borough Council saluted The Geiger Family, specifically Judy, Karen and Mark, who make up the “first family of soccer” in the town.
Judy, who passed away two years ago, spent more than 30 years as a coach and board member in the Beachwood Soccer Club and created the Micro Program, which introduces the sport to 4- and 5-year-olds. Karen Geiger Trump began as a player for her mom and would go on to star at Toms River South, Ocean County College and Kean University.
She later coached the OCC women’s team with great success and last winter was inducted into that school’s athletic Hall of Fame. A mother to three young children, she has taken over the program her mother started and is working with even younger children through a Mini-Micro program.
As for Mark Geiger...well, 2014 has been truly special. Several years ago he gave up a career as a teacher at Lacey Township High School to become a professional referee in Major League Soccer. He, of course, started blowing the whistle as a young ref in the Beachwood Soccer Club. Mark has worked MLS games for the past decade and later became a FIFA referee, working several major tournaments.
This summer he made history as the first American to officiate a game in the knockout stage of the World Cup following his widely-praised performance in an earlier match in Brazil. Mark continues to travel all over the country and world and expect him to get a call for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Last night’s honor was a surprise to all in the family but Karen’s husband A.J. The family was also represented by Judy’s husband Ron and son Steven. Soccer Club President Charlie Caruso along with the mayor and council praised the Geigers for their commitment and passion to the sport of soccer and the thousands of children who have benefited from that over the years and continue to do so today.