By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
July 14, 2017-Happy Birthday to Michael Clarke of Brentwood, whose big day is today! The longtime Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) volunteer is also able to celebrate the fact that he is being honored by the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) as our Personality of the Month for July.
“Mike has been an important part of the LIJSL for over 40 years, serving in many different roles as well as being a member of both the LIJSL and Eastern New York Halls of Fame,” commented LIJSL President Anthony Maresco. “He is a fantastic choice for Personality of the Month.”
Mike began his soccer career as a youth soccer coach in the Brentwood Soccer Club in the 1970’s, coaching both boys and girls. He then served as club President and under his leadership, the club tripled in size. Mike served as tournament director of Brentwood’s Columbus Day Tournament, played at the Pilgrim State Soccer Complex (now Brentwood State Park).
In the early 1980’s, Mike became a member of the LIJSL Board of Directors. Mike was also the girls varsity coach at MacArthur High School in Levittown and his reputation as an ambassador of sportsmanship led the Nassau County Soccer Coaches Association to annually give the top girls player in the county the Michael Clarke MVP Award, which is still awarded today.
LIJSL photo attached of Mike Clarke at his office in the Peter Collins Soccer Park. Nassau County Girls Soccer photo of 2016 Michael Clarke MVP Award recipient Hope Breslin with Mike on the right.
Mike also received the Marg McGory Award nearly a decade ago for his unwavering dedication to the LIJSL’s TOPSoccer Program for children with special needs. He was inducted into the LIJSL Hall of Fame in 1994 and in the Eastern New York Hall of Fame in 2012.
There are not many volunteer positions in Long Island soccer that Mike has not held as he has served as LIJSL Select Chairperson, Long Island Cup Chairperson, LIJSL Games Supervisor, State Cup Commissioner plus served on the committees for the LIJSL Convention, LIJSL Hall of Fame, LIJSL Scholarship Program and LIJSL Rules Committee.
The octogenarian shows no signs of slowing down as he has been the Director of the Peter Collins Soccer Park since 2001. The first fields were created for the LIJSL’s TOPSoccer Program in the 1980’s, behind what was then the LIJSL office, which now houses the Long Island Rough Riders. The Peter Collins Soccer Park is now a 22-acre facility sporting five large fields and three small-sided fields and it’s the home of the LIJSL, the Rough Riders as well as the Plainview/Old Bethpage Highlanders Soccer Club. Plainview/Old Bethpage needed a new home after their fields on Round Swamp Road that they have been using since the 1980’s were paved over last year for development. Mike has burnished his reputation as one of the true gentlemen in soccer by making sure that there’s a field available for everyone while working with these three groups.
He and his staff have maintained the Collins Soccer Park as one of the best soccer complexes in New York State so it is sought as a venue for big events. The fields have hosted teams from around the world as well as the US Youth National Team Program and a who’s who of American soccer has played there at one time or another.
Congratulations to Mr. July, Mike Clarke!
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.