John Friedrichs, a co-founder of the Smithtown Kickers Soccer Club who made his impact in several ways in Long Island youth Soccer and as a referee, has passed away.

He was 81. Friedrichs passed away on Friday.

Friedrichs, who was inducted into the Long Island Junior Soccer League Hall of Fame in 2010, also was named the Suffolk County Soccer Officials Association’s man of the year in 2008.

Born on Dec. 16, 1940, Friedrichs became involved in soccer in the late 1960s, when he coached the Huntington Kickers travel team.

In 1973, the Kickers were the first Long Island side to win an Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association State Cup championship. Two years later, he formed another travel team in Huntington in 1975. A year later, Friedrichs, wanting to play games closer to home, moved the travel team to Smithtown under the banner of the YMCA and started the Smithtown YMCA Travel Soccer Program in 1976.

Smithtown Kickers Soccer Club

The YMCA continued to add funds generated by the Smithtown “Y” Soccer Club program to their general fund and use much of the revenue for non-soccer activities. There were many improvements that the soccer program needed that required increased funding, but the loss of revenue to other activities curtailed needed improvements.

So Friedrichs became a founding member of the Smithtown Kickers Soccer Club, who were accepted as a club in the LIJSL for the 1979 fall season. He served as president, vice president and a board member of the Kickers for a decade. Friedrichs was head coach of the Smithtown Tea Men from 1979-90, winning LIJSL Sportsmanship Awards, tournament and LIJSL division titles as well as guiding the squad to the 1982 State Cup final. He volunteered with the Smithtown Kickers International Tournament from 1979-92 and established the Smithtown Kickers Summer Camp Scholarship.

Friedrichs holds a United States Soccer Federation “B” coaching license. The life member of the Long Island Soccer Football League started the LISFL’s Under-23 Division in 1985.

As a referee, Friedrichs officiated more 5,000 games for more than four decades. He was one of the founding members of the Long Island Soccer Referee Association in 1969 and was honored as LISRA’s Referee of the Year in 1988. he also served as president of the New York Metro Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association from 1993-98.

In 1997, Friedrichs was honored as the NYMISOA official of the year and also received the organization’s Service Award.

A wake is scheduled for Roma Funeral Home in Shirley, N.Y. on Thursday, from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.

The funeral home is located at 539 William Floyd Parkway, Shirley, N.Y. 11967.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at