Referee of the year Rosario Candela, holding trophy, surrounded by the NYSRA board of directors (Photo courtesy of ENYYSA)

The New York Soccer Referee Association honored its top referees at its holiday party at the VFW Hall in Franklin Square, N.Y. Dec. 12.

Rosario Candela was selected as it referee of the year.

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 was 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 former State Youth Referee Administrator of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association. The award is for outstanding service to refereeing.

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NYSRA president Vito Rizzi on left with Ray Wolfe Special Award recipient Nino Catalioti