By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
January 21, 2013-Last year, the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) Boys-Under-13 Olympic Development Program-South Team played in the 25th Annual Trofeo Costa Gaia in Sicily and became the first American team to make the semifinals in this tournament. They finished with a 4-2-1 record against top Italian competition with a goal differential of 16 to 5. The team earned such rave reviews by the locals that our ODP Team in the same age group was invited back to Sicily for the 26th Annual Trofeo Costa Gaia.
This ODP Team, with players from all over New York City and Long Island, is coached by Luis Alberto, who played professionally for Boca Juniors in his native Argentina and then indoors in the Major Indoor Soccer League with the New York Arrows and the New York Express over two decades ago. The ODP team arrived in Sicily after Christmas and defeated the local team, Castellamare, by a score of 2-1, to win the small Torneo Franco Manca and received a trophy in Italian for their efforts. Scoring the Eastern New York goals were Brian Celis (Elmont Retro Milan) and Marc Pavich (Auburndale Hurricanes).
It was then off to Stadio Nino Vaccara for group play in the Trofeo Costa Gaia. They tied their first game, 2-2, against Folgore with Daniel Lambert (Manhattan Emelec) scoring both goals. The New Yorkers then won three consecutive games by 1-0 scores with Danny Nugent (Manhattan Emelec) scoring the goals against Città di Ribera and Castelvetrano plus Anthony Morales (Franklin Square Thunder) tallying against Aurora Mazara. Then came a 1-0 loss vs. S.C. Ieto before a 4-0 defeat to Inter Milan in the quarterfinals. The ODP team finished with a 4-2-1 record in Sicily.
"We were staying in the same hotel as Inter and you could see the large physical difference between their players and ours," commented Coach Alberto.
"It was a fun trip that was something different for the kids," Alberto continued. "It was good to see the competition and to play Inter, which was better than everybody else."
Inter went on to defeat A.C. Prato, 3-1, to win the Trofeo Costa Gaia.
With 123,843 youth soccer players––68,587 boys and 55,256 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 12 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 Special Children. 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 on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.