St. Louis Referee George Gansner Chosen For Man City vs. Chelsea F.C. Soccer Match At Busch

Update: See photos from soccer at Busch Stadium.

Courtesy of Gansner
George Gansner.
St. Louis resident George Gansner was able to snag a ticket to the highly anticipated Manchester City v. Chelsea F.C. soccer match tonight at Busch Stadium -- but he won't be needing it. That's because he'll be on the now transformed field refereeing the game.

"To get to do a game in my backyard is really a great honor," Gansner, a linesman, tells Daily RFT. "I get to do games all over North America, Central America and the Caribbean...but I never get to do one here in St. Louis."

But tonight, he'll finally get a chance to step on to the field at Busch for the first professional non-baseball event at the new stadium.

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Gansner, 41, went to high school in Mehlville and now lives in Oakville -- when he is not traveling around the world to referee games, that is.

He's been with Major League Soccer for seventeen years and an assistant referee internationally with FIFA for twelve years.

via Facebook
Busch Stadium ready for soccer.

"Of course, I got excited when they put the game here to begin with," he says. "I bought my own ticket not knowing."

He says there is a pool of nearly 70 referees who could've been chosen for the game, and he was thrilled when he was picked.

Other than folks from the broadcast team of KMOX, he says he's pretty sure he'll be the only local guy out on the field.

George Gansner.
"It's just an honor to do a game here in St. Louis -- to walk out onto the field in your own home city," he says. "I grew up here, so it's great. I have a ton of friends who I'm sure will be at the game."

Refereeing is not his full-time occupation; Gansner works in food safety as a day job.

Refereeing is a "side gig," he says. "A very time-consuming side gig."

He referees about eighteen to 25 games a year, he estimates. And he's been doing this since he was twelve years old.

Unlike some haters, Gansner thinks this is a great event for St. Louis and for Busch Stadium.

"It's exciting for the city to have this kind of game," he says, "and hopefully we'll get more."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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He certainly didnt know how to ref the english style of football. The chelsea penelty decision was the softest penalty call i've seen for a while. Even if commited on the halfway line that would not have been a foul in most european leagues nevermind the Prem'. That's the reason the English Prem is the best and most entertaining in the world, we dont break up play by blowing for a foul every 3 mins when a player is just winning the ball through being stronger. In the pre-premier league days of the old 'Division 1'/'Division 2' England before the 90's, you had to actually assault a player to get a foul. Maybe the MLS should look to encourage a more physical game and nurture the art of defending in football, you'll find the sport benefits hugely in your country for it. Other than that, great to see support for English teams over there, beautiful stadium and great loud crowd.

P.S Amricans stop following Man Utd, you look daft and it strengthens our impression of you as glory-seekers who lack the character to back an underdog, maybe choose a team like Bolton or Wigan to follow, its more fun than cheering a team winning every trophy in site, trust me, I followed city for years and seeing success after enduring a childhood of heartache is miles ahead of just picking the team with the most trophies.

love from Manchester

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