Angelo Bratsis (left) and U.S. Adult Soccer Association president John Motta. (Photo courtesy of Angelo Bratsis’ Facebook page)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Long-time FIFA referee and instructor Angelo Bratsis has passed away.

He was 79.

The cause of his death was not immediately known.

Former FIFA referee Paul Tamberino announced Bratsis’ passing on his Facebook page Sunday.

“It is with a heavy, heavy heart that I bring you the news of the passing of my dear friend Angelo Bratsis,” Tamberino wrote. “Angelo was instrumental in molding the referee program of U.S. Soccer. Angelo was one of many who guided me through my officiating career. He was a mentor of mine through many years at various tournaments and through MLS.

“He was a perennial instructor at U.S. Soccer’s national camps. An established FIFA referee, Angelo helped many referees in their career.  It’s a pity that the younger generation of referees will not be able to benefit from Angelo’s knowledge, experience and passion. ‘Make no mistake about it.’

“RIP my friend.”

Bratsis enjoyed a storied career as a game official, working many high-profile competitions and games.

He was a FIFA referee from 1980-92, manning the middle spot in World Cup qualifiers (1986, 1990 competitions), Olympic qualifying matches, the 1985 Under-17 World Cup (China), Concacaf (Under-19 championship in Guatemala), Conmebol (South American Championship, Chile), Pan American Games (USA), President’s Cup (South Korea) and the World Military Championships (Netherlands).

Norn Jan. 24, 1942, Bratsis also was a referee in the original North American Soccer League for four seasons (1981-85). He received the Eddie Pearson Award for his distinguished officiating career in 1993.

As a national referee instructor, Bratsis conducted many referee courses and Seminars throughout the USA at various levels, according to his Linkedin page. He supervised various national U.S. Soccer tournaments as an instructor and/or assessor. That included the Olympic Festival, Armed Forces Tournament, national and regional amateur finals and national and regional youth finals.

Bratsis is a member of the U.S. Adult Soccer Hall of Fame, feted with a 50 years of service award by U.S. Soccer, a MasterCard Ambassador of Soccer and recipient of the FIFA special referee merit award. He also was inducted into the New England and Massachusetts Soccer Halls of Fame.

He was on the 2021 Builder eligibility list for election to the National Soccer Hall of Fame.