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Long Island Soccer Referee Association honors top officials, Wounded Warriors

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(Via Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association) – The Long Island Soccer Referee Association (LISRA) has been faithfully serving the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) and Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) for over four decades. LISRA became an independent organization in 1971, as youth soccer was starting its exponential growth, and it has been assigning referees for all LIJSL games plus ENYYSA games played on Long Island ever since. Every year, LISRA covers 20,000 travel team soccer games played on Long Island.

At the LISRA Holiday Party at the James E. Allen Elementary School in Dix Hills on December 10, LISRA honored some of its top referees while its membership made a $1,212 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project, an appropriate number considering it was in the 12th month of the year and before the 12 Days of Christmas.

“We all do what we can to help one another,” stated LISRA President Cathy Caldwell. “Our lives are definitely richer by working with one another.”

LISRA’s Silver Whistle Award, for excellence in officiating, went to Stanislav Mitev of Staten Island.

“Stan’s knowledge of the game, demeanor and how he deals with coaches are exemplary,” commented President Caldwell.

The Referee of the Year, the LISRA award going to the experienced ref who has given the most to the organization, went to Brightwaters’ Jean-Marie Maio. In accepting, Maio said, “I love working with everyone and I particularly love being at the Peter Collins Soccer Park and helping our young refs.”

The Rising Star Award was given to Jennifer Vincent of Sayville. Central Islip’s Dan Rodriguez was honored with the Emrys Joseph Rookie Referee of the Year Award. Joseph was a very personable LISRA ref and member of the Board of Directors who passed away 25 years ago and this award has been given annually in his honor since.

Of the 966 LISRA assistant referees, Noah Nekrutman of Stony Brook and Amanda Ehrhart from Patchogue received the Mario Boltri Assistant Referee of the Year Award as the best AR’s on Long Island. Boltri was a former LISRA President who created the chapter’s wildly successful assistant referee program more than a decade ago. Nekrutman and Ehrhart received the highest marks from the referees who grade the AR’s after every LIJSL game.

AR’s also receiving very high marks and who were honored by LISRA that night were Brandon Cabrol, Alexandra Ehrhart, Richard Flory, Michael Lerner, Brandon Licorish, Chris Mroczko, Oscar Salguero, Ben Vitale, Max Vitale, Kelly Wilson and Gregory Zarb.

LISRA longevity awards went to Freeport’s Ken Heller, 32 years in the chapter, and Williston Park’s Ely Beyrouty, 30 years in the chapter.

Heller, who officiated professional games before the kick-off of Major League Soccer, said, “I just want to thank everybody at LISRA. It’s been a fun ride and it will continue for a little bit more.”

Beyrouty echoed those comments. He said, “It’s been a wonderful and rewarding 30 years. My wife asked me what drives me to do several games a weekend and I told her that I forget my problems and it’s like entering a garden whenever I ref.”

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