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Saam Jalayer to Become NYMISOA President on His New Year's Day Birthday


By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association

December 31, 2018-Longtime soccer referee Saam Jalayer has three things to celebrate tomorrow as it’s New Year’s Day, it’s also his birthday and he becomes President of the New York Metro Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NYMISOA) as well. NYMISOA was founded in 1964 and it’s a referee organization made up of nearly 100 college refs in New York City, Long Island and Westchester.

The Smithtown resident was elected President in an election back in August and he succeeds John Puglisi, who served as NYMISOA President for the past dozen years, did not seek re-election as he has been President of the national body of college refs, NISOA, for the past two years.

Saam is a native of Tehran whose family moved to the Iranian town of Motelghoo on the Caspian Sea when he was five years old in 1980 as the Iranian capital was being bombed during the Iran-Iraq War. His introduction to soccer came playing pick-up soccer in the front yard of the family’s house in Motelghoo.

The Jalayer family moved to Long Island when Saam was nine years old and, as a young immigrant, Saam continued to play pick-up soccer and found a team to play on in school ball at Shoreham-Wading River Middle School and later at Shoreham-Wading River High School. He also played collegiate soccer at Stony Brook University.

Saam has been an Assistant District Attorney for Suffolk County during the past 14 years. It was very early in this job that he was introduced to refereeing.

“I was working in the DA’s office, conferencing a case, and the defense attorney was a high school soccer ref, Harry Tilis, which I found out in a discussion when we approached the bench,“ Saam explained, “I was interested and took the high school referee certification course in 2005.” 

Saam then became certified as a US Soccer ref a year later in a course taught by Joe Danbusky and started officiating many Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) games. It was a quick move up the ladder as his assessments were excellent and he refereed Regionals, and later the 2009 Olympic Development Program (ODP) Nationals.

Saam became a college ref in 2010, joining NYMISOA and was selected by a vote of members as the NYMISOA Assistant Referee of the Year in 2011.

Regarding his goals for the chapter he will be leading starting tomorrow, Saam stated, “I want NYMISOA to continue on the path that John Puglisi has started, which is being an inclusive resource for all college refs, both young and old, and help them to fulfill their potential. Working with the national body, NISOA, I would like to continue to make the chapter better.” 

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 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 Association. For more information, please log on to, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.