Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Passing of a friend to THE game, and a friend of mine

Photo: Joyce Furia
I was deeply saddened today to learn of the passing of Joyce Furia. She was a friend to THE game for as long as I knew her, and for about 25 years, a personal friend of mine. Details regarding her services can be found here at Massref.net.

In thinking back over her body of work, I ran across this interview (.mp3) with her from October of 2008 and remain to this day blow away about her love and knowledge of THE game. Truly amazing.

Joyce and I have had several interactions on the field and off as referee to referee, assessor to referee, journalist to referee, and most importantly friend to friend. One time she had come to me genuinely miffed at how she was being treated by a particular (and now defunct) professional soccer organization. She had asked me to write them a letter in the hopes of helping them understand just how passionate she was, and what a contribution she could make to their organization.

Below is the unedited text of that letter form April 28th, 1999, and as I read it again today, it is as true now, as it was then.

Today my words can only convey how I feel, which is truly sorrowful that a good person has left us before her time.

I'll miss you Joyce.


April 28, 1999

To whom it may concern,

I am writing this letter to highlight the extensive professional knowledge and abilities of Joyce Furia relating to the game of soccer.

I have known Ms. Furia since approximately 1989. Over this time I have worked with her in various capacities surrounding the game of soccer. We have worked together as referees, volunteered at various soccer related functions, and most recently participate with and enjoy her extensive articles on the men and women playing and officiating the game of soccer.  She has always amazed me with her thorough and accurate description of the game.  Additionally, her passion for the sport is quite apparent not only through her words but also her pictures.

Her knowledge of the game and her rapport with the players and referees is simply expert. She regularly interacts with some of the highest level of player and referee not only in the United States, but also in the world. These qualities, combined with her many years of experience within the game, make her an integral part of the world of soccer in Massachusetts.  In addition to her writing skills, her photography has and continues to capture the hearts of her readers.  With her photographs and articles, Joyce is entwined in our lives.  She acknowledges our achievements, comforts our defeats, and encourages us every day.  She allows us to see how we are perceived as players, coaches, and referees.  She captures our excitement and propels us forward to the next achievement.

Discussions with Ms. Furia are insightful and stimulating.  She draws us out, and helps us replay the events of the game.  As we grow in maturity and experience, Ms. Furia is right there beside us.  For 10 years I have admired Ms. Furia for all of these things, her knowledge, experiences, dedication, passion, skill, compassion, and most of all her rapport and ability to capture us and the game of soccer so completely.  I look forward to our continued relationship, her photographs, and words of wisdom.             

With Respect,
Peter S. Kokolski

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