By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
November 29, 2021-The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) is very pleased that one of our own, Robert Sibiga, has been honored as the 2021 Major League Soccer (MLS) Referee of the Year.
“I feel tremendous pride and honor to be voted the 2021 Referee of the Year in MLS and it represents my hard work and dedication to my trade,” Robert stated. “But receiving this award also represents all the officials from local chapters, through our administration in Eastern New York as well as my mentors, assessors and observers on the national level with US Soccer and now with PRO under the leadership of Howard Webb.”
Over a decade ago, the Carmel resident was confronted with the prospect of not being able to play soccer anymore at a high level after tearing both his ACL and knee meniscus.
“So I decided to try staying on the field at a different capacity and became a certified high school referee,“ Robert explained.
A nice break came for him when East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL) Hall of Famer Enrico Romano spotted Robert in 2009 and encouraged him to become certified refereeing US Soccer games. He quickly ascended up the ladder, officiating the US Youth Soccer national championships in both 2010 and 2011, the 2012 United Soccer League championship final and receiving the 2013 Jose Vargas Award as the top ref in Eastern New York.
Photo of Robert Sibiga, courtesy of his family.
Robert, a native of Poland, has accumulated 138 regular season assignments in MLS as well as the playoffs and 2018 All-Star Game.
“This refereeing journey started very late for me. I didn’t start officiating until 35, but the award shows that it’s never too late to work on yourself and strive for the best. To have dreams and goals. If it could happen to me, it can happen to anyone,” Robert concluded.
Thinking about following in Robert’s footsteps and becoming a soccer referee? Then contact Eastern New York State Youth Referee Administrator Piero Olcese at email@example.com
and he will tell you how to get started.
With approximately 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 nine 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. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/