By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
November 18, 2015-Four coaches and seven referees were honored by the New York Metro Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NYMISOA) for their contributions to the sport during the NYMISOA Awards Dinner on November 9 at the Sterling in Bethpage. All those honored got their start in youth soccer before moving up to the collegiate level. NYMISOA is made up of nearly 100 intercollegiate soccer officials in the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island plus Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties.
In voting by NYMISOA members, NYU swept the Sportsmanship Awards on both the men’s and women’s side of four-year college programs. NYU men’s coach Kim Wyant and NYU women’s coach Michele Canning were to be honored by NYMISOA but Canning could not make it as her team was in the ECAC playoffs so Wyant, a former assistant coach with the NYU women, accepted the awards for both programs.
“At NYU, from pre-season on, we tell the players that the referee does not decide the game but the players do,” Wyant said. “We coaches want our team captains to speak to the officials during the game as well rather than us doing it. These sportsmanship awards mean a great deal to our program.”
Wyant, the first-ever goalkeeper of the US Women’s National Team, has previously coached the Massapequa Power and Brentwood United of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), the largest league in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA). Canning cut her teeth by coaching New Jersey’s Olympic Development Program (ODP).
Suffolk Community College men’s soccer coach Frank Vertullo received the 2-Year College Sportsmanship Award for the second time, matching the number of national championships his team has won. Suffolk won the national title in 2010 and 2014 and the NYMISOA Sportsmanship Award in 2008 and 2015. Vertullo was selected last December as Eastern New York’s Personality of the Month for his success as a coach while emphasizing sportsmanship and he has coached LIJSL youth teams Dix Hills Heat, Commack Great Danes, Commack Premier and Commack United.
A coach honored with a Certificate of Appreciation for Lifetime Achievement was Joe Lee, who coached the St. Joseph’s Long Island women from 2002 to 2014 and is the only coach ever to win the NYMISOA Sportsmanship Award three times. The certificate read, “Presented to Joe Lee in recognition for teaching generations of soccer players at all levels the values of sportsmanship.”
Lee coached the LIJSL’s Sachem Tomahawks to the 1987 Girls-Under-16 national title and coached Regional champion HBC Nasty Girls, whose goalkeeper Maria Yatrakis, played for Greece in the 2004 Olympics, and whose central midfielder, Sue Bird, would eventually devote herself to basketball and win three Olympic gold medals with the United States. Lee has coached numerous LIJSL youth teams in both Sachem and HBC during the past four decades, emphasizing sportsmanship and player development with every squad.
Among the referees, Mike Godi was selected by NYMISOA members as the 2015 Official of the Year, Jiye Zhang was tabbed as Assistant Referee of the Year, Harlan Grossman was named New Official of the Year and Jim Memos received the Dennis Botsaris Service Award. All four superb officials remain active refereeing youth games when they are not officiating collegiate soccer.
Three officials who have done professional games were also honored for their services to college soccer refereeing. Mark Passiatore received the 35-Year Service Award, Randy Vogt took home the 30-Year Service Award and Alberto Giordano, a ref in Major League Soccer’s early days, received the 25-Year Service Award.
A photo gallery from the dinner is located here: https://www.nymisoa.com/photos/2015/2015_dinner/
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 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.