From left to right, Eastern New York State Adult Soccer Association President Sal Rapaglia, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, honoree Don Garber and Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association President Richard Christiano
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
July 16, 2013-The Eastern New York State Adult Soccer Association and Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association congratulate Major League Soccer (MLS) Commissioner Don Garber upon his induction into the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place on the yacht Atlantica during a Cruise Around Manhattan on July 13 to celebrate Eastern New York’s 100th anniversary. Eastern New York was founded in 1913, the same year that the United States Soccer Federation, now commonly referred to as U.S. Soccer, was founded.
Don Garber was born in Queens just like another sports commissioner, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. Our honoree spent 16 years with the National Football League before being selected as MLS’s second commissioner on August 4, 1999. One of his first moves was to bring MLS in line with international standards by eliminating the 5-second shootout to break ties and letting the referee keep official time on the field.
From MLS’s office in Midtown Manhattan, "The Don" has led unprecedented growth in the pro game as the league has grown from 12 to 19 franchises with the 20th franchise, New York City FC, to kick off play in 2015. Attendance has been spiking, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.
Don said at the induction ceremony, "None of this could have happened without the great grass-roots support we have. If not for everything you do, we would not have a vibrant MLS."
"Where the sport is now and where it was in 1999 are absolutely two different things," U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said at the induction ceremony, "And I can’t think of any other state association that has accomplished what Eastern New York has."
Don has many affiliations including U.S. Soccer, the USA World Cup Bid Executive Committee, U.S. Soccer Foundation Board of Directors, Hope and Heroes Foundation at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, NUY Tisch School for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports’ Board of Advisors plus World Congress of Sports’ Advisory Board.
Also, in 2007, Don formed MLS W.O.R.K.S., the league’s community outreach initiative, dedicated to addressing important social issues affecting young people throughout the United States and Canada.
Congratulations to our newest Hall of Famer, Don Garber.
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.