By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 17, 2013-The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Eastern New York State Adult Soccer Association are very happy to announce that Robert Sibiga was honored as the Eastern New York Referee of the Year at our 2013 Holiday Party on December 8 at Marina del Rey in the Bronx.
Robert received the Jose Vargas Award for this top achievement. The award’s namesake was an Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Famer, State Referee Administrator, State Youth Referee Administrator and State Director of Assessment before his passing in 2010.
Robert, a 39-year-old Carmel resident and native of Poland, was discovered by Enrico Romano, now our State Referee Administrator (SRA), while refereeing in the high school association in 2009. Enrico encouraged him to take the Bridge course so that he could officiate US Soccer games. Using Eastern New York’s youth leagues as a springboard, Robert moved up the ladder quickly and refereed US Youth Soccer’s national championships in 2010 and 2011.
"During the past five years, I have been working extremely hard and have gone to every possible tournament in the United States to gain experience," Robert stated. "It worked for me but the sacrifice was great, much bigger than people would imagine."
Robert accepted the award toward the end of the Holiday Party as he just got off a plane from San Antonio where he officiated the NCAA Division 3 Women’s Final Four. He became a college referee in 2010.
He served as an assistant referee for Women’s Professional Soccer in 2011 and refereed 12 games this season in the new National Women’s Soccer League. His outstanding performance as a ref prompted him to be assigned the 2012 United Soccer League’s championship game. Robert has also refereed North American Soccer League games during the past three years.
This past July, he became the first male official to graduate from US Soccer’s new Platinum Program, which provides selected up-and-coming officials with up to three years of personalized training in preparation for assignments at the professional and international level. Training is provided through a number of national training events, instructional webinars and through the support of mentors. Robert was added to the pool of fourth officials for Major League Soccer at that time and has served in this capacity for 12 MLS games.
"Robert is the best! When I think of him, I think of humility, integrity and a sense of responsibility," said SRA Romano. "Robert is very involved in the training of our referees. Eastern New York and the Hudson Valley Soccer Referee Association are very fortunate to have Robert."
"I am very proud to represent Eastern New York in everything I do," commented Robert. "I referee every game as if it’s my last one and I hope that we have more referees from New York officiating at the highest level."
With 123,843 youth soccer players––68,587 boys and 55,256 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 Special Children. 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.
Photo of Robert Sibiga on the left with State Referee Administrator Enrico Romano