When it comers to referees in New Jersey adult soccer, few men ever had a more outstanding career than Savino Caldararo.
Cited by FIFA in 1975 for “contributions to soccer in the United States” Caldararo’s belief in the importance of educating the referee and a training course to recruit and teach new officials.
Under Caldararo’s direction, the number of registered referees in New Jersey grew from 28 in 1969 to 1,476 in 1982. Hi program to recruit, train and assess young referees was soon adopted by the U.S. Soccer Federation and is still in use today.
During a 19 year career, Caldararo officiated over 575 matches, including National Cup finals, international matches including Santos of Brazil (with Pele), Benefica and Porto of Portugal, Red Star Yugoslavia and Napoli and Catanzaro of Italy. He is currently state arbiter for the New Jersey Soccer Association.
Born outside Naples, Italy, Savino, like all European boys, played soccer for the local team as a youth. At 16 years old, he moved to northern Italy where he played semi-pro soccer until he was 20. As injury suffered during a tryout for a professional team ended his playing career abruptly, but not his love for the game.
He moved to the United Stated where his love for soccer continued to grow. He became a member of the N.J. State Referee Association and for 19 years officiated 576 games on all levels, including the American Soccer League final, the National Cup final and several internationals.
He has served as a vice president, secretary and president of the N.J. State Referee Association as well as being appointed the group’s Chief Instructor and State Referee Administrator.
He initiated a course for referee instructors which produced 22 graduates, and a course for coached with 44 graduates.
In 1975, he received a citation from FIFA’s General Secretary for outstanding contributions to soccer in the U.S. and in 1983 received the Gunar Tobiens Award for Outstanding Contributions to Referees in New Jersey.