|Wicked Local photo by Matthew Healey|
If you’ve been to a youth, high school, college or semi-pro soccer game in New England in the last 40 or so years, you’ve probably seen Francesco “Frank” Scarsella out on the pitch.
Although he loves to play, Scarsella is best known among New England soccer fans as the preeminent referee in the state
At 68, Scarsella said he’s not only refereed thousands of games, but he’s probably trained tens of thousands of referees since 1978.
“Sometimes I’ll be out on the field and someone will come up to me and tell me that I was the one who trained him,” he said.
Scarsella emigrated from Italy at age 13 and he says that his love of the game is in his blood.
A friend writes:
Frank was one of those people who impacts other people’s lives in subtle ways. He worked with my teenage daughter during a tournament as she took her first steps beyond the little cocoon of our town league. He was supportive and kind, in his own way, to a young referee. And he always, always retained his sense of humor. We need more like him.
Another colleague noted:
We can see Frank’s true grit. There is something to be said about living life the way he wanted to. He told me at the time, he was given a five year window, when diagnosed. He exceeded that through fearless force of his will.
Frank trained all of us, regardless of our age. We'll miss him.