Good Time Had at Third Annual MSRC Awards Night

July 23, 2005 - Taking time to recognize those around us who have given of themselves for others in the referee and communities has become a fine tradition. The Massachusetts State Referee Committee was host to a warm gathering at its third annual event held at the Wyndham Westborough Hotel. The evening had some surprises and no shortage of emotion to make it special and memorable.

The 2005 award recipients are a terrific group of contributors. The recipients of the annual awards for administrator, instructor, assessor, and assignor each are high caliber individuals. They have combined years of service with a professional approach and a dose of humility and could not be more deserving. With their accomplishments and hard work the referees of the year are standouts among their peers. The referee community can be proud of each of the individuals who stepped up to the podium this night.

The MSRC conceived of the Selfless Service Award to take note of an individual who has given much and is not typically in the limelight. What better choice than Claudette Kokolski who has worked for over thirty years in support of youth soccer and referees? Former National Referee Peter Kokolski provided a wonderful introduction for his mom and presented her with the award. Beautiful.

During the ceremony State Director of Assessment Andy Weiss recognized many referees who have passed away from our referee community including Grant Balkema and Marty Gaffney who have left us in the last twelve months. Refereeing is a very human activity and Andy encouraged the audience not to forget the connections we make in the community.

Andy Weiss continued to share a story that gripped the room. He told of a selfless referee, Grade 7 Referee Jim Ryan of Jamaica Plain who, in 2004, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, an insidious and terminal condition. Already a tireless worker for referees in his community, Jim had plans to train as an instructor and assessor of officials. He had purchased warm-up suits for each role. At a winter recertificiation clinic, Jim presented these suits to Andy with the wish that someone could make use of the suits. It is impossible to describe the feeling as Andy invited Jim to the podium to present the warm-up suits to the 2005 winners of Assessor and Instructor of the Year. We will not forget you, Jim.

At one point in the evening, State Referee Administrator Rich Frongillo interrupted State Youth Referee Administrator John Utter to exercise a slight bit of executive privilege. Rich discussed his own use of the idiom "solid citizen" to refer to someone who, when nobody is watching, will "do the right thing for the right reasons" and someone who steadily raises the bar of professionalism in the organization. Rich continued by introducing three individuals -- Ed Rae, John Utter, and Andy Weiss -- and presenting them each with an inscribed clock as the first (reluctant) recipients of the MSRC's Solid Citizen Award.

In a repeat performance, instructor and assessor Ed Rae Jr. served as emcee leading the proceedings and adjusting effectively to on the fly changes. Although much of the framework has been consistent from year to year at each Awards Night, each has been different and remarkable in its own way.

Please join us in congratulating this year's group of award recipients.

Back: Dennis Hogan, Frank Murphy, Bill Carey, Samuel Richards, David Harris, Jr., Andy Page; Front: Brendan Orino, Claudette Kokolski, Jill Daly, Joanna Cloutier

Notes about the award recipients:

Selfless Service Award - Claudette Kokolski of Wrentham

Claudette got involved with Walpole Youth Soccer in the early 1970's with her late husband Steve, and has continued to be active ever since. She has been a team manager, referee scheduler, fundraiser, and later joined the Boston Area Youth Soccer (BAYS) League as a board member and accountant for referees. Her tireless, steady, and effective contributions make her the ideal candidate for this award.

Flannery Award - Jill Daly of Boxford

Jill has been an active referee for nearly twenty years starting out as official in youth games in the mid-1980s. She was upgraded to grade 7 in 1995. A mother of five children and active in multiple sports as a coach and referee, Jill has long been a supporter of youth sports. She has officiated in high level youth tournaments including State Cup, Massachusetts Tournament of Champions, and regional tournaments. In addition to being a referee with the US Soccer Federation, she continues to be active with high school, and college.

Flannery Award - Frank Murphy of Plymouth

Frank is a husband and father of two grown children, retired from the Department of Defense. Introduced to the game through his kids, Frank worked as the Referee Assignor for Plymouth Youth Soccer. Recognizing the reward of working with young people he trained as a USSF Instructor and has continued to advance with his completion of the Instructional Theory Into Practice (ITIP) course in 2004.

Flannery Award - Mario Pineda of Worcester

Mario has been a soccer advocate in the Worcester area for several years. As a coach, referee, volunteer, he has participated at the youth (Worcester), high school (Shrewsbury), and college (Nichols College) levels. Within the Worcester Youth Soccer League Mario has been a painter of fields, referee assignor, coordinator of referee training, and founder of the minority outreach program.

Young Male Referee of the Year - Brendan Orino of Rutland

Brendan is soft spoken with an understated manner to go with his overachieving personality. Brendan has worked successfully in many competitions including State Cup, MTOC, and the USYSA Region I Championships. See the related article about Brendan.

Young Female Referee of the Year - Joanna Cloutier of Charlton

Joanna celebrated her birthday on the day of the Awards Night and was recognized for her many achievements. She is an honor student, accomplished athlete, and terrific referee. See the related article about Joanna.

Adult Referee of the Year - Samuel Richards of Lawrence

Sam is a former FIFA referee from the Dominican Republic who moved to Massachusetts in 2004. In 2002 he was an official in a semifinal of the Gold Cup and a semifinal of the Under-17 World Cup. A husband and father of three children, Sam has worked to get settled in our state. He had earned his US citizenship in the week of the Awards Night! Since arriving Sam has become known as a hard-working, humble, and respected contributor to the adult soccer community which is fortunate to have him in our ranks.

Administrator of the Year - David Harris, Jr. of Haverhill

David knows how to provide good service. For nearly ten years he has been a valuable Area Referee Administrator within the MSRC in support of the Middlesex Youth Soccer League. His professional approach and honest dealings with people have helped the referee development program continue to improve. In addition to his ARA responsibilities, David is also an active USSF Instructor and Assessor.

Assessor of the Year - William Carey of Concord

Bill is often quiet, speaking few words. Those around him are smart to listen to those words, however, as he has wisdom to share. A man of integrity and professionalism, Bill is adept at observing and evaluating referees and picking out a few aspects which can help the referee develop. His award was presented by the 2004 Assessor of the Year Milan Robbins who identifies Bill as a mentoring force. A husband, father of four children, and a grandfather, Bill is also active as a USSF Instructor, an Executive Board Member of NEIOSA, and a referee.

Instructor of the Year - Dennis Hogan of Pelham, NH

Dennis is not your average instructor. He is creative, energetic, and courageous trainer who is not afraid to use a variety of techniques if it helps students receive and retain the relevant material. Dennis is a well-prepared professional who is a model for the instructional staff. A contributor to referee development wherever he has been, Dennis volunteered in Pennsylvania and Minnesota as Assistant State Director of Instruction. In addition, Dennis has recently been trained as a USSF Assessor and has completed a run as a State Referee.

Assignor of the Year - Andy Page of Dudley

Andy is a leader in the soccer community. Managing the challenges of referee assigning by treating people with respect and emphasizing communication. He has done this while simultaneously serving as President of the Midland Area Youth Soccer (MAYS) League. As State Assignor Coordinator Brian Treanor observed in his introduction, Andy is "always one to fix a problem where he sees one." Husband and father of three daughters, Andy has held positions in the Dudley Soccer Club including registrar and a volunteer for the Dudley Halloween Classic tournament.

Solid Citizen Award - Ed Rae of Westwood

Current State Director of Instruction Ed was recognized as a reader, a writer, a poet, and a perennial student of the game. He is a keen observer of human involvement and interaction and applies these skills as he serves as a USSF National Assessor, instructor, father, grandfather, and husband. Speaking personally, Rich Frongillo observes that Ed has served as a guide and mentor in a way that has successfully dissolved the generation between the two.

Solid Citizen Award - John Utter of Newton

Current State Youth Referee Adminstrator John was recognized as an avid people person who invests in building solid relationships with everyone -- referees, administrators, parents, coaches, players, vendors, customers -- everyone. John is an active referee, valuable assessor, and talented instructor. On the whole he is a tremendous asset in the soccer community whose value cannot be understated.

Solid Citizen Award - Andy Weiss of Kingston

Current State Director of Assessment Andy was recognized as a founder of many themes present in the referee community within Massachuetts and an advocate of professionalism at all levels. As a longtime SYRA, Andy was a pioneer in establishing fundamental policy and procedure within the state and beyond. Rich Frongillo observes that Andy has been a true role model worthy of the highest praise.