Jay DiDonato in blue shirt after scoring a goal
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
April 2, 2014-Join the United States Navy and travel the world by going to exotic ports of call. First Lieutenant Jay DiDonato, aboard the USS Stout, is currently on deployment in the Mediterranean Sea.
The USS Stout’s crew recently had joint naval exercises with the Turkish navy. To enhance relationships between NATO countries, as part of the protocol following the exercise, the officers tour each other’s ships and arrange other social bonding events, usually including a friendly game of basketball. However, on this tour Jay started to talk to a Turkish officer about their combined passion for soccer, and for the first time, much to the delight of the Turkish officers, they both organized a friendly soccer match instead.
“Remember that most of the world loves playing soccer and my passion has not abated either, so during the tour of our ship, a Turkish officer and I decided to organize a little international friendly,” Jay commented. “We lost, 8-4, but then we mixed up the teams and just had a good time all around.”
Attached is a photo from that game with Jay in blue after having just scored a goal for international relations. He’s 28 years old, is a huge Inter Milan fan and has been serving in the United States Navy for two years. In the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), the Eastchester resident played for Eastchester United and the New Rochelle Raiders of the Westchester Youth Soccer League (WYSL) and for three years with the WYSL Select Team.
Jay’s father, Julian DiDonato, started volunteering in the WYSL when his son began playing in the league two decades ago. Julian’s volunteering has increased exponentially as he is now the WYSL President and a Trustee of Eastern New York.
“It is great that Jay’s passion for soccer, starting at age five, continues just as strong to this day,” Julian commented. “It’s had such a positive impact on his life and others in so many ways––building friendships, expanding opportunities and now international relationships, it is truly remarkable that sports can bring you so much throughout your life.”
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 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 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.