Before his work took him to California five years ago, Jerry Cannella was a familiar face at most of the biggest soccer matched in New Jersey. And for good reason.
One of the most respected officials in the Garden State, Jerry was often the man in the middle making sure the best games had the finest officiating.
Born and riaised in Lyndhurst and a resident of Hazlet from 1973 until he moved to Aptos, California in 2003, Jerry got his start in the N.J. Referees Association in 1984 with Hall of Famers Tony Todaro and Guido Gazzoni as his lead instructors.
Within five years he had become a Grade 6 referee and two years later was a Grade 5 referee. With the late Charlie Sillitano Sr. as assignor, Jerry was soon officiating top matches with the likes of Charlie Ponti, Alex Shuster, Alex Pruz, Frank Desimini, Nick Giancaspro and George Delabandera among others.
Recruited by Casey Mithell to join the State Soccer Referee Association in 1992, a year later Jerry became one of the first to become a registered USSF assignor.
He went on to become a referee assessor and instructor and today continues as an instructor and assessor while refereeing in the California North Association. A former treasurer of the SSRA of New Jersey and president of the State Referee Association for five years, Jerry revised and ratified the Referees Association Constitution and By-Laws, changing the name to the Soccer Referees Association of N.J.
He has served as Hazlet Soccer representative to the Monmouth/Ocean Soccer Association (MOSA) and was a MOSA board memeber, Shore Area Comminissioner for N.J. Youth and the first State Youth Referee Assignor, a position he held for eight years. A member of the Region 1 ODP staff since 1983, Jerry once worked the world’s longest game–a 10-hour benefit fund raiser held of Old Bridge soccer.
He was host chairman in 1993 and 1994 for the Region 1 Youth Championships held in N.J. Jerry and wife Alice have two children and two grandchildren. Jerry worked for General Dynamics Electro Dynamic Corp in Avenel for 23 years and today operates Aljers, LLC. a supplier of spare and repair parts for military marine motors based in Jackson, N.J. and Aptos, California.