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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Being a soccer referee is sometimes a thankless job.

The ultimate responsibility is player safety, but they have to deal with much more than that -- the elements, hot tempers, and fans.

"You have to have a lot of control and a lot of focus," says Sean Hurd.

Hard work and focus has landed Jacksonville native Sean Hurd on the world stage. He is one of two Americans picked to referee men's soccer at the 2012 Olympics.

"It really is something that is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Hurd said.

Hurd is going with tons of experience. He is what's called an assistant referee, running along the touchline with a flag. He works several MLS games a year, and can generally be spotted working the bench sideline.

"We're there through mid-August. They'll tell us a couple days before each match who is on what game and what city we're in and they'll make arrangements for us to travel there," Hurd said of the Olympics.

He leaves for London Wednesday.