Long-time referee Richard Ceonzo was inducted into the Eastern New York Hall of Fame during the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association’s holiday party at Marina del Rey in the Bronx Dec. 17.
Ceonzo was voted into the Hall last year but could not make the induction ceremony as it interfered with a family vacation. It was agreed that the formal induction ceremony would take place in 2017.
He began his soccer career as a coach in LaGrange Soccer Club in 1992, founding the LaGrange Patriots boys travel team.
In 1999, Ceonzo was appointed to the East Hudson Youth Soccer League board of directors as league arbitrator, a position he held for six years until he was elected league first vice president and games chairperson. In 2007, he returned to a trustee position due to his increasing involvement in the referee community. Ceonzo again accepted the arbitrator’s position in 2009, serving in this role for six years before returning to his current trustee seat in 2015.
The Poughkeepsie, N.Y. resident has served as chair or a member of several EHYSL committees, including but not limited to appeals, coaching convention, hall of fame, office, Premier League, referee, rules, sportsmanship and supervisory.
Ceonzo has enjoyed a long and very distinguished career as a referee. He became a Grade 8 referee in 1992, rising to Grade 7 in 1994 and to Grade 6 in 2004. He became a referee instructor in 1996, instruction coordinator in 1997, Eastern New York director of instruction in 2004 and a state instructor Grade 5 in 2005. He also became an assignor and assignor instructor in 2000. Ceonzo achieved Grade 7 assessor in 2001 and upgraded to Grade 5 assessor in 2013.
He served as Eastern New York state referee administrator in 2011 as he was in charge of the thousands of certified soccer referees from Long Island to the Canadian border.
“In addition to Rich’s service to the soccer community as a referee, for which he is the most well-known, he has provided to be a valuable asset to the East Hudson Youth Soccer League as well,” EHYSL president Jim Purdy said. ”Rich has for many years served on the league board as an age group coordinator and most recently as the league arbitrator. As an AGC, he has been one of a few who new AGC’s can turn to for advice be most effective and as arbitrator to be fair but firm. For many years, Rich has been a tremendous asset to the league and all of the soccer community and for that we are most appreciative.”