2017 NYSWYSA Young Referees of the Year

"They call him Hunter B"

An EPSN 30 for 30 movie devoted to the life of Hunter Brzozowiec

What would you say if I told you that this young man was almost born into the sport, starting to play at the age of 3 and grew up to play on his high school varsity soccer team at Nichols High School as well as teams in the Lancaster-Depew Soccer Club. He claims he wasn't the best player on the team but that soccer taught him leadership skills that he could apply for the rest of his life. Those leadership skills must have been successful, because not only was he voted the captain of his varsity soccer team, but also the captain of his high school hockey and tennis teams as well.

What would you think if I told you that playing a varsity sport every single night of his high school career was not enough and that he also graduated with high honors from Nichols High School and went on to enroll in SUNY Buffalo this fall majoring in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Computer Science.

And what happens when a young man is busy every night in sports and excelling in his high school career? He helps to start the Nichols FIRST Robotics team, is elected captain of that team, and leads his team to qualify in the World Championships 3 years in a row. He gained a certification in Robot Assisted surgery and in basic life support. He participated in the 2016 Roswell Park Cancer Institute Junior Robotic Surgery Challenge and was the winner of the Best Practicum Score for all 4 weeks of the competition, winning a scholarship in the program. He was also the captain of the Nichols Science Olympiad Team and led them to qualify for states in both 2016 and 2017, the first time the school had ever qualified in the competition. He won the Presidential Education Award, the Edward Herrscher Excellence in Technology Award and was named a Western New York State Scholar Athlete in both Soccer and Tennis.

What would you say if I told you that he still had time on his hands? Enough to be a fundraiser for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Bald for Bucks program; a volunteer for the Salvation Army gathering holiday presents for sponsored families; a kitchen volunteer for Friends of the Night People, a charity that helps the destitute and homeless in Buffalo; planted trees for the Buffalo Olmstead Parks Conservancy; and raised funds for Children's Hospital and collected arts and crafts for children as part of Caring for Kids.

What would you think if I also told you that through all of this, he became a certified soccer official at age 12 and has already upgraded to be a grade 7 referee which allows him to do adult games at the earliest age he could qualify for upgrade? He officiated at the 2017 State Cup, and because of his performance was selected to do the 2017 Region 1 Championships where he was given a final assignment, something that only about 35% of the referees in attendance receive. When his appointment was announced there they called him Hunter B. He also became a certified official in hockey and currently holds a level 3 certification in that sport; doing youth, scholastic and adult games in the area.

And last but certainly not least, what would you think if I told you his neighbors decided to hire him as a babysitter? Not for just some normal child, but a child that was born with only one leg. And what would you say if I told you that his first instinct was to teach this young boy how to play soccer, instilling in him the same love for the game that Hunter has held close to his heart for his entire life.

We say that he deserves the Young Male Referee of the Year award.

Cassidy Hadcock first became involved in soccer at the age of 8. Originally it was just a simple after-school activity but it has blossomed into a major part of her life. She says that the game has taught her not only how to be a better leader and be more confident, but also has given her a drive to accomplish much more in her life than she believes she might have desired before her involvement. She became the captain of her high school varsity team, was a first team All-League player in high school from her sophomore year onward, as was an honorable mention for the all Rochester team in 2015. She has also devoted her time as a volunteer coach for the Wayne Wings Under 12 team and helped as a assistant coach on her high school, modified girls and JV girls team.

She first became a referee in 2012 at the age of 13. She says that being a referee has taught her to respect the game even more and has made her a stronger player and person because of the challenges that being a referee presents. She is eager to learn and has improved drastically over the years as a referee as she transitioned from doing RDYSL games, to Thruway, Regional Leagues and state cup matches. She has done state cup twice and last year was a referee at the Region 1 ODP Boys Tournament in New Jersey. She is truly a student of the game as she still possesses and reads every assessment feedback form that she has ever received and self assesses her performance in every match to attempt to improve as much as she can. She has also recruited several family members and friends to become referees.

As a student she is certainly not average in any sense of the word. She graduated from high school sixth in her class with a combined GPA of 97.79. She received the Bosch & Lomb Honorary Science Award and she is currently in her second year of college at the University of Rhode Island where she is majoring in Pharmacy and has maintained a GPA of 3.89 and has made Dean's List both semesters so far.

She also is quite involved in activities beyond soccer however. In high school she was the Vice President of the Varsity Club, the Captain of the Math team, a member of Masterminds and athletically was also on the varsity track and field team. She has been a volunteer for Austism Speaks and as a Girl Scout working on her silver award, organized a soccer clinic for refugees from Nepal collecting soccer gear for the players and convinced the Rochester Futbol Club to donate uniforms for the players. She has also helped to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity. In college she remains involved as a tutor in Anatomy, Physiology, Organic Chemistry and Biostatistics.

One of the people who recommended Cassidy for this award stated "Cassidy is caring and thoughtful of others due to her positive demeanor. Her smile alone could brighten a room. She is very dedicated to everything she pursues. Mediocrity does not exist in her vocabulary as she always strives to achieve her high goals she sets for herself."