By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
September 26, 2017-Enrico Romano, midway through his first term as Trustee of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), has seemingly done it all in soccer as a player, coach, referee, assignor, administrator and volunteer.
Despite his surname meaning “Roman,” Enrico grew up a long corner kick south of Rome (and Naples, for that matter), playing soccer in Teggiano in the Province of Salerno before emigrating to the United States in 1974. He became a coach in the Beekman Youth Soccer Club in the East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL) and he coached his Boys-Under-19 travel team to winning the Dutchess Cup.
Enrico became a certified referee in 1998 and is still active as a ref today. He currently serves both the Hudson Valley Soccer Referees Association (HVSRA) and Mid-Hudson NISOA Chapter as President. He has also served the game as the referee assignor, the person who schedules refs, in Eastern New York’s adult and youth programs as well as college referees in the Independent Soccer Officials Assigning Bureau (ISOAB).
Enrico led the refs in Eastern New York as the State Referee Administrator from 2013 to 2016. During this time, the number of registered refs increased 30% to over 4,000 officials, he hosted top clinicians at Elite Referee Meetings at Fordham University in the Bronx, had new referees in EHYSL be mentored by experienced officials and helped start EHYSL’s innovative Scout Program, where a senior ref or league volunteer observes youth soccer games at a local club and makes recommendations to improve the behavior at every game.
The Highland resident is credited with discovering Robert Sibiga, newly promoted to full-time ref in Major League Soccer (MLS). Enrico saw him refereeing high school games in 2009, realized his great potential and encouraged him to also ref under the US Soccer umbrella.
“Enrico was instrumental to my career. He is a great person and great friend and I would have never achieved what I did if it weren’t for him so I owe him a great deal,” Robert commented. “One day after I retire, I want to help referees the way Enrico helped me and others.”
Enrico has spent decades as a coach, referee, instructor, assessor and volunteer in the Hudson Valley and his fluency in English, Italian and Spanish certainly helped navigate the diverse soccer fields of Eastern New York. So it makes perfect sense, with all these good works, that Enrico is an EHYSL Hall of Famer, being inducted in 2010.
One new project has Enrico assigning intramural games in the Town of Poughkeepsie Soccer Club and working to end the club’s referee shortage. Another project is to bring more clubs to Eastern New York and EHYSL.
“I am promoting Eastern New York soccer to canvas both new and old players and coaches to embrace our sport and show all that Eastern New York offers, from coaching and ref courses, scholarships, Olympic Development Program, TOPSoccer Special Children’s Program, soccer insurance, risk management, etc.,” Enrico stated. “We’re presently in contact with numerous clubs about this.”
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.