By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
March 6, 2018-The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) is very pleased to announce that State Youth Referee Administrator (SYRA) Lee Suckle has been selected as our Personality of the Month for March. Lee was nominated by ENYYSA President Richard Christiano.
“Lee was one of the best referees ever in Eastern New York but an injury seven years ago was a bend, not an end, to his wonderful career,” commented President Christiano. “Although Lee still refs some top games today, he has concentrated on being the best instructor, assignor and assessor he could be and we are thrilled that he is leading our youth soccer refs today as our SYRA.”
Lee got his start in the world’s most popular sport as a 5-year-old in 1981 playing in a CYO recreational soccer league in Dayton, Ohio. His family moved to the Philippines and then to California and he started as an official as a 16-year-old in Cal North when he served as an assistant referee for the games that his father was refereeing.
“My father was in the Air Force and we moved back to the Midwest,” Lee explained. “I worked my way up the ladder for two years in Illinois to get an opportunity to attend the Region 2 Finals in '96. I will never forget the Boys-Under-14 final and still to this day have the game card I took notes on, Vardar vs. Scott Gallagher.”
It was a very quick climb up the officiating ladder as Lee then refereed the US Youth Soccer Nationals in 1998. After moving to New York just before the turn of the millennium, he refereed many adult finals in Eastern New York plus memorable games included refereeing the United Soccer Leagues Division 3 Professional Championship in 2005 between the Western Mass Pioneers and Richmond Kickers and the 2009 quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup between DC United and the Richmond Kickers.
Lee officiated in the Premier Development League from 1998 to 2004, the United Soccer Leagues from 2004 to 2010 and Major League Soccer from 2005 to 2010. Awards include the 2002 Silver Whistle Award (top ref) and 2009 Dedicated Service, both from the New York Soccer Referee Association (NYSRA), and 2009 Official of the Year Award from the local college chapter, the New York Metro Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NYMISOA). It was the first year that the NYMISOA general membership voted for this award and nobody has received as many votes for the award since.
“While Lee is a tremendous referee, I admire him more for stepping up and giving his time to fill a much needed requirement to develop Eastern New York’s next generation of superior referees,” explained NYMISOA President John Puglisi. “The amount of effort he puts in to helping develop referees on and off the field is incredible. Lee expertly manages the interests of the referee training program and Eastern New York soccer administration, which is no easy task.”
A back injury in 2011 forced the Garden City Park resident not to continue at the Professional and National Referee level. Today, he’s a National Emeritus Referee, National Referee Coach, State Instructor, National Assignor plus Director of Eastern New York’s Elite Referee Program, currently developing 20 officials into professional refs and assistant referees.
Plus Lee as SYRA and State Referee Administrator Klaus Mueller are the leaders of Eastern New York’s 2,900 registered referees. Both canvass the state to develop refs and they also attend many meetings across the state too.
And all this is in addition to Lee’s “real job” as Elevator Maintenance Mechanic, working for Nouveau Electric Inc. in Downtown Brooklyn. He has been a proud member of Local 3 IBEW Union since 1999.
Congratulations to Lee Suckle, Eastern New York’s Personality of the Month for March.
2005 Division 3 championship game between the Western Mass Pioneers (white) and Richmond Kickers (orange). The officials in yellow are, from left to right, assistant referee Mark Passiatore, ref Lee Suckle, 4th official Mike Constantine and assistant referee Ken Heller.
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.