Locals Honored For Youth Soccer Involvement

NYU Men's coach Kim Wyant accepts the 2015 Men's and Women's Soccer Sportsmanship Awards. (Photo via NYMIOSA website.)
NYU Men's coach Kim Wyant accepts the 2015 Men's and Women's Soccer Sportsmanship Awards. (Photo via NYMIOSA website.)
NYU Men’s coach Kim Wyant accepts the 2015 Men’s and Women’s Soccer Sportsmanship Awards. (Photo via NYMIOSA website.)

Several members of the Long Island youth soccer community were honored by the New York Metro Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NYMISOA) for their contributions to the sport at an awards dinner held November 9 in Bethpage.

NYMIOSA members selected the men’s and women’s soccer teams at New York University for the Sportsmanship Awards honoring men’s coach Kim Wyant and women’s coach Michele Canning.

“At NYU, from pre-season on, we tell the players that the referee does not decide the game but the players do,” Wyant said. “We coaches want our team captains to speak to the officials during the game as well rather than us doing it. These sportsmanship awards mean a great deal to our program.”

Wyant has strong connections to soccer on Long Island having previously coached Massapequa Power and Brentwood United in Long Island Junior Soccer League. She was also the first goalkeeper for the United States Women’s National Team.

Suffolk Community College men’s soccer coach Frank Vertullo received the 2-Year College Sportsmanship Award for the second time. He has also coached a number of LIJSL teams including Dix Hills Heat, Commack Great Danes, Commack Premier and Commack United.

Joe Lee, the former head coach of St. Joseph’s College women’s soccer team from 2002 to 2014, received a Certificate of Appreciation for Lifetime Achievement. He is the only coach ever to win the NYMISOA Sportsmanship Award three times.

Lee coached the LIJSL’s Sachem Tomahawks to the 1987 Girls-Under-16 national title and coached Regional champion HBC Nasty Girls, whose goalkeeper Maria Yatrakis, played for Greece in the 2004 Olympics, and whose central midfielder, Sue Bird, would eventually devote herself to basketball and win three Olympic gold medals for the United States.

Among referees, Mike Godi was selected by NYMISOA members as the 2015 Official of the Year, Jiye Zhang was tabbed as Assistant Referee of the Year, Harlan Grossman was named New Official of the Year and Jim Memos received the Dennis Botsaris Service Award.

Three officials who have done professional games were also honored for their services to college soccer refereeing. Mark Passiatore received the 35-Year Service Award, Randy Vogt took home the 30-Year Service Award and Alberto Giordano, a ref in Major League Soccer’s early days, received the 25-Year Service Award.

(Information for this article was supplied by Long Island Junior Soccer League.)