For more than a decade Saam Jalayer has been officiating youth soccer matches on Long Island.
As 2019 begins, the Smithtown resident will begin his tenure as president of the New York Metro Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NYMISOA). The organization was founded in 1964 and its membership consists of nearly 100 college referees in New York City, Long Island and Westchester.
Elected to the position in August, he succeeds John Puglisi who served as NYMISOA President for the past 12 years.
“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,” Jalayer said. “Working with the national body, NISOA, I would like to continue to make the chapter better.”
A native of Iran, Jalayer’s first exposure to soccer was as a five-year-old in the Iranian town of Motelghoo. His family relocated from Tehran to the town along the Caspian Sea after the Iran capital was bombed during the Iran-Iraq war.
Four years later, his family moved to the United States and settled on Long Island. He would eventually play school ball at Shoreham-Wading River Middle School and Shoreham-Wading River High School. He spent his collegiate playing days at Stony Brook University.
Outside of soccer, Jalayer for the past 14 years has been an Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County. It was very early in his tenure as an ADA that he would be 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,“ he said. “I was interested and took the high school referee certification course in 2005.”
Jalayer went on to earn his certification as a U.S. Soccer referee a year later started officiating matches in Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL). 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.
He became a college referee in 2010, joining NYMISOA and was selected by a vote of members as the NYMISOA Assistant Referee of the Year in 2011.