By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
August 6, 2014-Noah Leeds, a 13-year-old midfielder who has grown up playing in New York City youth soccer, is set to move with his family to Spain after he was offered a place in Sevilla FC’s youth academy.
He started playing soccer with Brooklyn AYSO, coached by his father Jon, when he was just four years old. At the age of six, he began playing with SC Gjoa of the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL) on their Boys-Under-8 squad. Noah also played for two other CJSL clubs, Manhattan Kickers and CDC New York United, always playing against boys two years older. He also competed for the New York Red Bulls Academy.
“Noah was traveling over two hours to Newark from his school, Mark Twain, to train with Red Bulls and getting home at 11:30 pm,” said his father Jon Leeds. “It was all very stressful, emotionally and financially, on our family so we decided to withdraw two winters ago and train full-time with Phillip Martin, his coach with the Manhattan Kickers who runs Total Futbol Development.”
Noah’s silky skills have been on display in the winter when he played for Total Futbol Development in New York Futsal, which just like the CJSL, plays under the umbrella of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA).
“Noah has great work habits, a winning mentality and is super competitive,” commented Coach Martin. “Yet he’s a really sweet teammate and a great kid!”
The opportunity, still a relatively rare one for American youth players, to join one of Spain's most respected soccer academies came about through an amazing combination of boldness and good fortune.
Jon and Noah traveled to Seville in June, visiting the club to request a tryout, but were rebuffed at first, with Sevilla officials saying that Noah would have to be identified and invited by club scouts first.
Just before they were scheduled to leave the country and return home, a local restaurant manager spotted Noah juggling a ball as the family walked to dinner. Impressed with his skills, the restaurateur connected the Leeds family with a friend in Sevilla's scouting department and a tryout was arranged.
The trip was extended, Noah continued to shine and he was offered a longer-term stay. The family––Jon, Noah, mother Suzy and younger brother Zach––plan to relocate to southern Spain before the end of the summer and is starting intensive Spanish lessons in order to adapt.
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.