By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 20, 2016-Although some soccer fans might question if refs have 20/20 vision, 20 referees who particularly made a difference on the soccer fields of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Eastern New York State Adult Soccer Association were honored for their contributions to the sport at holiday parties on Thursday night, December 15.
The New York Soccer Referee Association (NYSRA), founded in 1938, held its party at the VFW Hall in Franklin Square. Alex Focea received the Golden Whistle Award for excellence in officiating, Amro Aly was honored as Referee of the Year, Secretary Kambiz Riazi was tabbed for the Recognition Award and Brendan Mullarkey was given the Service Award for his 33 years as a NYSRA official.
At the New York party from left to right: Ref Konstantin Veltchev, Golden Whistle recipient Alex Focea and NYSRA President Vito Rizzi. At the Long Island party from left to right: LISRA President Cathy Caldwell and Silver Whistle Award recipient Jose Aparicio.
Even more awards were handed out at the holiday party at Dix Hills' James Allen School for the Long Island Soccer Referees Association (LISRA), formed in 1971. Jose Aparicio was given the Silver Whistle Award for excellence in officiating and there was a tie in determining the Referee of the Year so, for the first time ever, two members––Efi Domb and Satwinder Hundal––were honored with this prestigious award.
Eugene Gallucci and Larry Pisaryuk were given the Service Award for their 25 years as LISRA members and Recording Secretary Michael Marks received it for his many years of service as he is retiring to Florida and will be missed.
There are 850 assistant referees in LISRA needed to cover the nearly 1,000 Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) games every weekend and several in particular stood out. The Mario Boltri Assistant Referee of the Year Award went to Adira Brown-DeVirgilio and Sean Lyons while John Asam, Brandon Brockner, Christian Menjivar, Saleh Rabie, Victoria Santorelli and Shelby Spano were honored for being top assistant refs as well.
The Emrys Joseph Rookie Referee of the Year Award went to Glynn Hargraves, who like the award’s namesake is a native of the United Kingdom, and the Rising Star Award was given to Richard Flory.
LISRA Assigning Chairperson Nicolas Apostolides was in the holiday spirit as he stated, “I am asked to cover thousands of games every season and it is not me who is making this possible but it’s because of you, the many refs who go above and beyond every weekend.“
With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 11 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Children With Special Needs. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log onto http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.