From left to right: Lindi, Lirim and Luan Gjonbalaj
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
August 21, 2017-Having three triplets all advance to the higher levels of a sport is about a rare as a solar eclipse.
But it just occurred in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) as three Olympic Development Program (ODP) players––Lindi, Lirim and Luan Gjonbalaj––have been selected to the Regional Pool. The Manor Heights triplets are three of the 77 Eastern New York ODP players who have made the Regional Pool.
“The boys are remarkably talented,” commented their ODP coach, Jerome Vivona. “They work hard for 90 minutes and from box-to-box. They are great teammates and each of them in camp proved they belong in the Regional Pool.”
Coach Vivona plays them across the middle as mainly attacking players. The boys have also been playing for the Cedar Stars Academy Gunners for the past four years, winning the Eastern New York Premier League (ENYPL) title in 2015 with Lirim playing as forward and his two brothers in the midfield. The team is now registered in the Staten Island Youth Soccer League (SIYSL).
“The triplets are great fun and they bring a whole lot of energy to the team and are very positive kids,” commented Cedar Stars coach George MacDonald. “Each have their own individual qualities but all are feisty. Lindi is very aggressive and pacy, Lirim is a great finisher and Luan is a great passer.”
Their club teammates are able to tell the triplets apart since they are with them more often, such as school in addition to soccer, but their coaches sometimes have issues figuring out who is who.
With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 11 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Children With Special Needs. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log onto http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.