The Monmouth Ocean Soccer Association (MOSA) officially announced its 2021 Hall of Fame Class on Nov. 29, with the inductees being Alex DeJohn, Mark Geiger, Richard Spector and Chris Thorsheim.
MOSA has set its 2021 Hall of Fame Dinner for Dec. 2, and the ceremony will be held at the Colts Neck Inn.
“Alex, Mark, Richard and Chris truly are all role models to the thousands of participants in MOSA,” said Eric Offenberg, first vice president of MOSA. “This year, we honor two soccer players who established themselves in the top leagues in Europe and North America, while at the same time inducting an international referee, as well as a MOSA club board member who was key to shaping the league.”
MOSA consists of teams that compete in Monmouth and Ocean counties. MOSA is a member of New Jersey Youth Soccer. The goal of MOSA is to present amateur soccer players with opportunities to advance their careers, both on and off the field. Teams participating in MOSA range from the U8 to the U18 age bracket, according to a press release.
Alex DeJohn currently plays for Atlanta United of Major League Soccer. DeJohn played youth soccer for the Marlboro Magic travel team. He then played collegiately at Old Dominion University, where he was a four-year starter.
After declaring for the MLS draft during his senior year, he was selected by the New England Revolution. Shortly thereafter, he decided to play in Europe and signed with Ekenäs IF (EIF), a club in the second division in Finland.
After winning the league that year, he signed with a top league club in Finland called Turun Palloseura (TPS). Those two years in Finland allowed him to make a move to Norway where he next signed a two-year deal for a top league club named IK Start.
After playing with IK Start for two seasons, DeJohn signed a two-year deal with a first division club in Sweden called Dalkurd. In his first year in Sweden, Dalkurd won promotion to the top league.
Following his six-year experience in Scandinavia, DeJohn signed a deal in Major League Soccer with Orlando City, where he competed for two seasons. He is now playing for Atlanta United and lives with his wife, Lisa, and their 1-year-old son, Madden.
Mark Geiger first became involved in soccer in 1980 when he started playing in the Beachwood Soccer Club. Through the years, he has been a player, coach, referee, referee mentor and referee administrator, servicing matches in MOSA for a significant portion of that time.
His biggest accomplishments, however, have been made in the refereeing circle. Geiger began as a referee in 1988 by working youth matches throughout Ocean County. He then became a state referee in 1997 before he became a national referee in 2003. He was nominated to the U.S. Soccer International Panel of Referees in 2018 and he remained a FIFA referee until his retirement from the field that same year.
Geiger started working amateur, semi-professional and professional matches throughout New Jersey in 1997 and continued to do so until 2003. He later began officiating games in Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2004 and finished his MLS career with 186 regular season matches.
He was named the MLS Referee of the Year in 2011 and 2014, and he was the fourth official for the 2008 MLS Cup and the referee of the 2014 MLS Cup. His final MLS match was on Nov. 29, 2018, when he was the referee of the Western Conference final between Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers.
Internationally, Geiger has officiated in several CONCACAF and FIFA competitions. In 2011, he was selected to the FIFA U20 World Cup in Colombia, where he was the referee for the final between Brazil and Portugal.
He was then selected for the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco. From 2016-18, he was a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) at the FIFA Club World Cup and was appointed to the final in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, he was chosen for the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
The highlights of Geiger’s career came in 2014 and 2018 when he was selected for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil and Russia. In each of those tournaments, he was the referee of two group stage matches and a Round of 16 match.
In 2018, he also featured as a VAR in eight games, including the third place match between Belgium and England.
Currently, Geiger is the Director of Senior Match Officials with the Professional Referee Organization, overseeing the match officials in MLS. He is also a FIFA Technical Referee and a VAR Instructor.
Richard Spector was involved with youth soccer in New Jersey for nearly 40 years. He spent many years on the Board of Directors at the Manalapan Soccer Club (MSC), beginning shortly after its inception while serving many board positions over the years.
He co-founded the annual MSC Memorial Day Tournament with Jim Roberto, and he was heavily involved with the competition until his passing in 2019.
Spector also worked on the refereeing side of youth soccer, first as an official and then as a state referee assignor. He demanded the best from his officials and all who worked for Spector respected him.
He is survived by his wife, Jan, and their children, Jennifer, Jason and Matt, in addition to his grandchildren.
Chris Thorsheim began his soccer career in MOSA with the Manalapan Red Tribe in 2003 before moving on to Toms River Galaxy from 2007-11.
From 2009-11 he became a member of New Jersey Olympic Development Program (ODP) as well as the ODP East Regional Team.
Thorsheim joined the Red Bulls Academy from 2011-16 and then progressed to Danish club Middelfart Boldclub in 2016. The next year, he moved to Danish first division team Nykobing FC, where he remained through 2021.
Thorsheim graduated from Christian Bothers Academy, Lincroft, in 2012 and captained CBA to a 2011 state championship with a 21-0-0 record. The team was ranked No. 1 in New Jersey and No. 4 in the United States.
He then attended Bucknell University, captaining the team his senior year and receiving multiple accolades over the span of his time there. Thorsheim was Bucknell’s first four-year All-Patriot League selection in men’s soccer.