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Hall of Fame Spotlight - Nicola Marino (1997)

Nicola Marino began his soccer career in the early 1960s as a varsity soccer player at the University of Pittsburgh. His refereeing career began five years later within the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. 

When he came to Georgia in early 1967 to attend law school, three organized adult amateur soccer teams who competed regularly ultimately became the Atlanta District Amateur Soccer League. Marino recruited, trained and supervised the first group of referees who officiated the amateur competition.  The next year, the ADASL grew to 29 teams and Marino strived to develop and provide for competent officials.  He also served as President, Rules Interpreter and Scheduler of the Georgia State Soccer Football Association Referees. 

In 1971, Nick created a unique concept for semi-professional soccer in Georgia by forming the Atlanta Metros Soccer Team and arranged a full schedule of competitions in Atlanta with teams from New York, Mexico City, Dublin, Frankfurt and Rome. 

In 1987, Marino helped organize the Latin American League of Atlanta.  After 31 continuous years of refereeing, he experienced a minor setback in 1995 when he underwent open heart surgery, but quickly made it back to the field.

At the time of his induction into the Georgia Soccer Hall of Fame in 1997, Marino was still officiating and was a Referee-in-Residence at the Soccer Center in Fayetteville.  Among his career affiliations were: Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, United State Soccer Federation, Georgia State Soccer Association, Vancouver British Columbia Soccer Association, National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association and the North American Soccer League. He is also credited to have started Georgia Soccer's state referee development program.