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New York Soccer Referee Association Honors Top Refs

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

December 24, 2019-New York City is a wonderful melting pot as is the sport of soccer so many of the most diverse sports events are New York City soccer games. Managing 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 eight decades ago back in 1938. 

NYSRA honored its top refs at its Holiday Party on Thursday night, December 12 at the VFW Hall in Franklin Square. 

Rosario Candela was selected as the 2019 Referee of the Year. 

Rosario_for_Web2019 Referee of the Year Rosario Candela, holding trophy, surrounded by the NYSRA Board of Directors

The Gold Whistle award, for the experienced ref still serving the association in many ways including on the field, went to Charles Sherman. The Silver Whistle for a top young, upcoming ref was given to Alex Kharko. This is the second consecutive year that the Referee of the Year, Gold Whistle and Silver Whistle recipients all hail from Brooklyn. 

Service awards were handed out to Brooklyn’s Joe Manzo (25 years service and passing the Physical Fitness Test at 71), Brooklyn’s Howard Wright (for longtime service) and West Hempstead’s George and Barbara Snizek (for longtime service and support plus making sure the refs are well-fed at the monthly meetings).

Nino Catalioti of Elmont received the new Ray Wolfe Special Award, a memorial plaque named after the esteemed former State Youth Referee Administrator of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA). The award is for outstanding service to refereeing.

Nino_for_WebNYSRA President Vito Rizzi on left with Ray Wolfe Special Award recipient Nino Catalioti

A wonderful buffet dinner was enjoyed by the nearly 100 referees in attendance. 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 dinner.  

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 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 onto, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.