By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 18, 2017-The outdoor soccer season concluded as the Empire State became a winter wonderland with snow on the ground, just in time for Hanukkah and Christmas. With no soccer games obviously being played except indoors, awards season is now upon us in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA).
One of the largest awards ceremonies is held every December by the Long Island Soccer Referee Association (LISRA). 23 top officials were honored during the LISRA Holiday Party at the James E. Allen Elementary School in Dix Hills on December 14. Mark Kober received the Silver Whistle Award for refereeing excellence.
LISRA President Cathy Caldwell explained, “Mark exudes such professionalism and he makes his assistant referees stronger and better. He’s a wonderful role model for our referees.”
From left to right, LISRA Executive Vice President Terry Nohilly, Silver Whistle recipient Mark Kober
and LISRA President Cathy Caldwell
The Referee of the Year Award, the LISRA award going to the experienced ref who has given the most to the organization, went to Minas Tsourtsoulas while the Rising Star Awards went to Sean Lyons and Tyler McElhinney, who was also recently honored on the Newsday All-Long Island team for his play in goal for Jericho High School.
“Tyler had some year!” commented Dani Braga, his high school coach.
Juan Solorzano was honored with the Emrys Joseph Rookie Referee of the Year Award. Joseph was a very personable LISRA ref and member of the Board of Directors who passed away 27 years ago and this award has been given annually in his honor since.
Of the over 850 LISRA assistant referees, Kevin W. Cruz and Brittany Shaneberger received the Mario Boltri Assistant Referee of the Year Award as the best AR’s on Long Island. Boltri was a former LISRA President who created the chapter’s wildly successful assistant referee program more than a decade ago.
Assistant referees also honored by LISRA that cold night were Victoria Blunnie, Gage Brown-Devirgilio, James Christian, Cameron Dennis, Nicole Devlin, Jenna Healy, Rick Masi, Brianna Pereira, Katie Raptis, Sebastian Sarron, Danielle Shaneberger, Ken Terwilliger and Ian Trendel. The AR awards are based on the ratings of the refs who grade the assistants after every game plus comments from the refs as well as their assignors.
25-Year Longevity Awards went to two LISRA Board Members, Al Giorgianni and John Sengelaub. The two took a 1992 certification course together at Grace Episcopal Church in Massapequa, which was the start of lengthy officiating careers for both of them. Tony Annunziata received Lifetime Membership, soccer’s version of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
LISRA became an independent organization in 1971, at the start of the youth soccer boom, and it has been faithfully serving the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) ever since. Every year, LISRA covers an incredible 20,000 travel team soccer games played on Long Island, including over 98% of LIJSL games this past Fall Season.
“It’s amazing how many games our refs officiate every weekend,” stated President Caldwell.
Demonstrating that referees can be very nice too, an impromptu collection was taken up and the LISRA refs donated $300 to Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park.
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 on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.