By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 20, 2016-A New Yorker is becoming President next month and looks to hit the ground running. Well that might describe Donald Trump, we’re referring to Eastern New York’s own John Puglisi, another New Yorker of boundless energy who has been elected President of the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA) and will start his reign on January 1, 2017. His term is for two years as President of the national organization responsible for improving the level of officiating in college soccer matches, both men’s and women’s, in the United States.
President-elect Puglisi stated three main goals before taking over.
“Increase the diversity of the NISOA senior leadership. We need our senior leadership to better reflect the membership in gender, age, ethnicity and geographically,“ he stated. “I also want to increase NISOA's presence as conference/game assignors. We realize that members want to get the best assignment that's within their capability. Assigning is an important part of meeting the membership's goals. Lastly, continue to deliver top quality education and training programs focused on intercollegiate soccer. NISOA is the only national organization in the United States dedicated to improving intercollegiate soccer officiating through education, training and certification.“
It’s been a long climb up the soccer ladder for the New Rochelle resident, whose “real job” has been Associate Vice President, Facilities Management at Fordham University in the Bronx since 2005.
“In the late 1970s, I remember watching delayed broadcasts of the German Bundesliga on PBS before we had cable TV,“ John explained. “I was a baseball player but I became fascinated with the sport of soccer and the atmosphere at games. I first started playing soccer at Burrs Lane Junior High School in Dix Hills. I went on to play for Half Hollow Hills High School West on the Class B Long Island championship team in 1979.“
Burrs Lane would become an early part of his referee career since, while a high school student, he took a US Soccer Entry Level Referee Course there taught by Jack McCabe, who was on the committee that brought the 1994 World Cup to the United States 15 years later.
“As with most younger referees, officiating was a way to earn some money. My first match was a youth game at Connetquot High School in Bohemia. I forgot to put a coin in my pocket. Got my first mistake out of the way before the match even began!“
He advanced through the ranks of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) and Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), became a college official and worked NCAA tournament games, including the 2003 Division 2 men’s Final Four in Virginia Beach. Shortly thereafter, he was elected President of the New York Metro Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NYMISOA), a position he still holds today.
John has seemingly done it all in college officiating, including being a NISOA National Clinician since 2009, serving as NISOA webmaster since 2010, being elected NISOA Secretary in 2013 and NISOA Vice President last year, which is his current position. As Vice President, he is responsible for the Ethics and Grievance committee, sales, welfare plus the National Convention.
There’s a nice coincidence here as John will be in charge of all college officials starting in 2017, which is also the year that Five Towns College will be starting both men’s and women’s college soccer programs. The irony is that Five Towns was once Burrs Lane Junior High School, where John first played and first became a ref.
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 onto http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.