YOUNG REFEREES OF THE YEAR
Andrew Kennedy has led a life of soccer, science and service working toward conquering the divide between us and them. He began playing soccer at the age of 5. During his playing days, Andrew has served as the team captain of his teams on 4 different occasions. His high school playing career was notable in that he was not only the team captain 3 of the 5 years he was involved but also was named to the Monroe County All Stars, The All Rochester First team and the All State Soccer team in 2018.
He became a referee in 2013 and has since been at the NYSW State Cup final four in 2018 and 2019. In 2018 his performance at state cup earned him a last second appointment to the 2018 Regional Championships and in 2019 he attended both the Region 1 ODP Tournament as well as the Regional Championships. He is currently on our list of officials doing local academy games assigned by US Soccer as well as earning his upgrade to allow him to do affiliated adult games. He has been mentoring new referees in the Rochester area for the last 2 years.
In addition to soccer, Andrew is currently enrolled in the Binghamton University Undergraduate Research program where he is involved with the types of projects and research generally reserved for graduate students. After one year in the program, Andrew was elevated to lead several research groups and works as a teaching assistant in the program. In addition to his primary work in chemistry, he is pursuing a minor in Spanish and is an active participant in the University Orchestra and the Graduation Band. Andrew was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor society in the fall of 2018.
Outside of school, he has been very involved in music, scouting and his church. For his church he volunteered at the Asbury First United Methodist Church Storehouse and volunteered to take part in the Asbury First United Methodist Youth Fellowship Annual Work Trip four times. As a musician he was the first trombonist for the National Association for Music Educators Symphony orchestra, The New York State School Music Association All State Symphony Orchestra as well as the area All State and All County Ensembles.
Andrew is an Eagle Scout and for his project he came up with, organized, and chaired A Conversation on Faith. This involved organizing a potluck with 85 high school students recruited from five different religions and brought in faith leaders of different religions to help facilitate discussions. Additionally, Andrew helped organize a musical event featuring music and musicians from the Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Mormon community in an effort to help “us” understand and cooperate with “them.”
His college professor wrote “Andrew has demonstrated that he is resilient, detail-oriented, and a fine leader. Andrew is one of the best peer mentors I have worked with. He has a knack for guiding students to find answers without simply telling them the knowledge they are seeking.”
One of his coaches noted “I’m proud that someone with Andrew’s characteristics and love and respect for the game of soccer has chosen to be a referee. With his background in soccer, he knows the game. With his hard work, he will strive to improve to reach the next level. With his intelligence he will learn the intricacies of applying the laws of the game. With his scouting background he will ensure fair play and know the difference between spirit of the game and letter of the law. Andrew is a person who will become an excellent role model and mentor to future young referees.”

UPDATE: Andrew was also named the USYSA Eastern Region Young Male Referee of the Year AND the USYSA National Young Male Referee of the Year. Congratulations, Andrew!
 
 Gabriella D’Ambrosio has been awarded the WNY State Referee of the Year (Feale) 2020.  Some people might think, upon looking at her background, that somehow Gabriella D’Ambrosio was “born to it.” It would be a reasonable misconception... after all, her grandparents were born in Naples and came to this country in their twenties and assured that she had a soccer ball at her feet most of the time from the day she was born.
Gabriella first became a referee in 2014 and is certified as a futsal referee and so that she can officiate the game she loves year round as well as improve her skills on the field.
Gabriella went to high school at Churchville-Chili where she was the vice-president of the Student Council for 3 years, inducted into the National Honor Society, the Foreign Language Honor Society and won several awards including the Foreign Language Honor Award, the AP Biology Award and the Living Environment Award; graduating with an Advanced Regents Diploma. Gabriella went on to St John’s Fisher college where she has been on the dean’s list in both of her first two semesters and is a member of the Student Conduct Committee. She plans to graduate from college with a Bachelor of Science in nursing specializing in either maternity or pediatric oncology and continue to work and live in Rochester.
Gabriella started to play organized soccer at the age of 8 at several different levels. She was a 3-year varsity player and found time to also be the manager for the Varsity Softball team, a sport she had to learn from scratch having never been involved. She is currently playing on the women’s varsity soccer team at St. John Fisher where she divides her time playing for the team and volunteering to coach goal keepers for the Rochester Junior Rhinos as well as playing for a women’s team in the summer. She looks forward to her coaching as she hopes to spark the same love of the game that she has into the younger players that she oversees.
Outside of school she has also volunteered quite a bit of time to her church as a lector, alter server, and has been a camp counselor for several years.  Additionally, Gabriella was in girl scouts completing both her bronze and silver awards, volunteered for the Breast Cancer Walk in the city of Rochester as well as the Luau for Lustgarten at St. John Fisher College raising money for pancreatic cancer research.
One of her teacher’s commented that “Gabriella exhibits strengths that several of her teachers often commented on. She is a hard-working individual who expects the best from herself and those around her. I have observed a student-athlete that constantly sets high standards for herself and always exceeds them. I know her to be one of the most honest and reliable members of a team who cares about and respects every member of the team regardless of who they are.” An example of how much Gabriella cares about her team is best illustrated when as a player last fall, her college coach wanted all the players on the team to run a very challenging fitness test. Gabriella ran the test with the first wave of players and passed it. As she was watching the second group of players complete the first lap, she noticed one of her teammates was having trouble with the test after the first lap. Without giving it a second thought she went back onto the track and ran the test again keeping pace with her teammate helping her complete the test successfully.
 
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