July 6, 2007

Don Dellavia ’98 Runs to Top of Field in Officiating Youth Soccer

He was among 12 to referee a final at national championships

A passion for soccer and a seed of inspiration from his mother led Don Dellavia ’98 to referee intramural soccer matches during college.

“At that time it was a hobby – something I was lucky enough to be able to indulge in and make money at the same time,” he says. “My mom was officiating basketball and that’s where I got the idea.”

After graduation Dellavia continued to officiate high school games and began adding college matches to his schedule.

“In the beginning I did mostly Division I and Division III matches. Now I am traveling more doing Division I for the Big Ten and Big East,” he says. “The schedule requires a commitment of most fall weekends. I’ve continued to do the youth in the spring as well.”

Dellavia was one of just 48 referees in the country at this year’s U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships and one of just 12 to officiate in a final.

“This requires a high level of experience because the competition is tough even though it is youth,” he says. “There are players there that are in residency at national camps and Division I coaches who are scouting. It is intense.”

Moving into the ranks of Major League Soccer referees is Dellavia’s goal.

“I am among 250 people with my ranking now. I’ll be watched as a candidate and hopefully after several years of doing minor leagues I can move up,” he says.

Dellavia has to balance his heavy officiating schedule with a fulltime job. His work as a mechanical engineering major earned him a spot in the GE Corporate Technical Leadership Program, where he first interned and later was hired full time, moving into operations management.

“My major fit me well because I was good at math and science,” he says. “Professor [Michael] Paolino was head of engineering at the time and he was the person who actually brought me to Lette. We were speaking on the phone and he promised me that Lafayette would compete with any safaychool in the country. I now know his promise was true. I also found his total dedication and enthusiasm to be just what I needed to get me through the late nights studying for thermodynamics.”

Dellavia is still active in Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, working with its alumni board and editing the newsletter for his local chapter. He attends Homecoming each year.

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