Soccer

Hall-of-fame Q&A with soccer official Gino D'Ippolito

Longtime soccer official and Yonkers resident Gino D'Ippolito has refereed some of the biggest events in the world and will be inducted into the Westchester Hall of Fame on Thursday.

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Soccer referee Gino D'Ippolito referees a game between Irvington and Bronxville High School, Thursday, May 1, 2003 at Concordia College.

Soccer referee Gino D’Ippolito referees a game between Irvington and Bronxville High School, Thursday, May 1, 2003 at Concordia College.

Name: Gino D’Ippolito

Bio: The 81-year-old was born in Colledimezzo, Italy, on March 4, 1935, and has been a Yonkers resident since 1951. After playing soccer for many years, D’Ippolito began refereeing local games in 1963 and was invited to become a professional official in 1968 in the National Premier Soccer League.

In 1971, he was recommended to FIFA and went onto to officiate 15 World Cup qualifiers. D’Ippolito was chosen to referee the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and officiated in virtually every professional league in the U.S.

He was also an official at Pele’s first and last games with the New York Cosmos. D’Ippolito was a linesman at Pele’s first game, on Randall’s Island in 1975, and the referee for his last game, at Giants Stadium in 1977.

D’Ippolito still occasionally referees youth games and has been a U.S. Soccer national assessor since 1985.

Favorite memory: “My favorite memory was the time when I refereed a friendly match between the All-Stars of Europe vs. the rest of the world All-Stars. This was a match held to benefit UNICEF in a sold-out Giants Stadium and was televised worldwide.”

Biggest moment: “My biggest achievement is becoming an international FIFA referee. From 1975 to 1985, there were only seven FIFA referees in the entire United States.”

What it means to be in the hall of fame: “It is a great honor to be inducted into the Westchester County Hall of Fame. I have lived in Westchester County for 65 years and I still remember my first match at Tibbetts Brook Park in 1963. Since then, I have refereed on every soccer field in Westchester County and I was back at Tibbetts last Sunday refereeing a children’s game.”

Quotable: “As Gino’s son, it is a great honor to have grown up watching my father do what he loves the most. He was always able, willing, and ready to give back to those involved in the great sport of soccer. He has given me the values of humility, perseverance, and generosity.” — Dominic D’Ippolito

The induction banquet is scheduled for Thursday evening, Oct. 20, at the County Center in White Plains. For reservations, contact Kevin Cook at 914-231-4564 or kdc2@westchestergov.com. The Westchester Sports Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Westchester Parks Department. The plaques are on permanent display at the County Center.

Twitter: @vzmercogliano

Soccer referees Gerald Fischoff, left and Gino D'Ippolito before a game between Irvington and Bronxville High School, Thursday, May 1, 2003 at Concordia College.

Soccer referees Gerald Fischoff, left and Gino D’Ippolito before a game between Irvington and Bronxville High School, Thursday, May 1, 2003 at Concordia College.

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