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News - Details

New York Soccer Referee Association Honors Its Top Refs

By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 27, 2017-Frank Sinatra sang “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,” in “New York, New York,” and this sentiment applies to just about every trade and certainly to soccer refereeing. Soccer is a wonderful melting pot and so is New York City so many of the most diverse athletic contests played in the US are New York City soccer games. Managing soccer games between rival ethnic groups is not for the faint of heart and it’s been the role of the New York Soccer Referee Association (NYSRA) since its inception way back in 1938. At the NYSRA Holiday Party on December 14 at the VFW Hall in Franklin Square, its top referees in 2017 were honored.


The following referees received awards:

Gold Whistle (NYSRA’s highest achievement award) was presented to Francesco Rizzi in recognition of distinguished service at highest level with US Soccer. Picking up a lyric from another Sinatra song, 2017 “was a very good year” for Francesco as he was also included on the NISOA National list and officiated the PSAL Boys Soccer Final for the New York City high school championship. He is pictured here with assignor Teresa Catalioti.

Silver Whistle presented to Andrew Pyzik in recognition of a young, upcoming and talented referee

Referee of the Year Award was given to Patricia Thelwell for great officiating and reaching the highest level with competence and dedication to the NYSRA

Service Award, for over 25 years of outstanding and devoted service, went to Joao Natel

Life Member Award, soccer’s version of the Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented to veteran ref Conrad Vaughn for many years of service with NYSRA  

“The turnout to our annual holiday party was higher than usual with guests from the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League as well as the State Adult Association,” explained NYSRA President Vito Rizzi. “Gifts were raffled as we usually do during this occasion.”

The NYSRA would like to thank its friends at the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL), New York City originals since 1933, for paying for the holiday 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 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, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.