20 Top Refs Honored by the Long Island Soccer Referee Association
Every year, LISRA covers an amazing 20,000 travel team games on Long Island
Although some soccer fans might question if refs actually have 20/20 vision, 20 referees who have particularly made a difference on Long Island soccer fields were honored for their contributions to the sport on Thursday night, December 13.
The Long Island Soccer Referee Association (LISRA) Holiday Party at the James E. Allen Elementary School in Dix Hills honored referees who officiate Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) and Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) games. Every year, LISRA covers an amazing 20,000 travel team soccer games played on Long Island.
Mike Susko of Lake Ronkonkoma was honored as the Referee of the Year. There have been thousands of LISRA refs, all have an identification number and this award was a bit of back to the future as Mike’s father, George Susko, was LISRA ref #1 and longtime assignor Nick Apostolides is LISRA ref #2. Sadly, Mike never had the opportunity to ref with his father before the latter’s passing three years ago.
LISRA Past President Cathy Caldwell said of Mike that “he is always positive and always has a smile on his face.”
The Silver Whistle Award for excellence in officiating went to Edgar Trejo-Araujo of Farmingville. Caldwell explained that “Edgar takes his job very seriously but not too seriously that he does not forget to have a good time.”
The Emrys Joseph Rookie of the Year Award was given to John Fitzgerald. Joseph was a very personable LISRA ref and member of the Board of Directors who passed away 28 years ago and this award has been given annually in his honor ever since.
Tristin Brown-Virgilio and Mike DiMiceli both won the Rising Star Award for young referee of the year.
Nicholas Buzzitta of Mineola and Jillian Radesca of Ronkonkoma received the Mario Boltri Assistant Referee Award. Boltri was a former LISRA President who created the chapter’s wildly successful assistant referee program after the turn of the millennium and there are now over 800 LISRA assistant referees.
Assistant referees also honored by LISRA that night were Gianluca Ancona, Bryan De Vries, Dominick DiBartolomeo, David Escorcia, Jake Flores, Daniella Pereira, Andrew Rocco, Joshua Segal, Alyssa Sorenson and Alyssa Valenti. The AR awards are based on the ratings of the refs who grade the assistants after every game plus comments from the refs as well as their assignors.
To complete the festive spirit, 25-Year Longevity Awards went to Richard Farnum, Lazar Gozenpud and Doug Softy.
Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association: 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) reaches 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.