Shannon Kerwin is kneeling second from the left.
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
March 4, 2013-St. Patrick’s Day might be a great day to be Irish but every day is great to be Irish for Shannon Kerwin as she holds dual citizenship since her father Kevin grew up in County Limerick. While surfing the Internet with her mother Maureen, they came across the site for the Football Association of Ireland and discovered that she qualified to play for the Ireland Under-19 National Team.
Showing the pluck of the Irish, the 17-year-old North Salem resident sent a résumé and video to the Ireland coach, Dave Connell. With Coach Connell’s approval, Shannon flew to the Emerald Isle last summer, tried out in person and made the team, playing forward.
"We ate five meals a day that consisted mainly of protein," Shannon commented. "We weren’t allowed any white bread or dessert. We had to write down everything we ate. We trained seven hours per day, three 2-hour sessions with one hour of swimming. My teammates and coach were great, and we didn’t mind working so hard as we played as a unit, a team."
The Ireland Under-19s lost and drew against Scotland last summer. On the Ireland roster, Shannon’s club team is listed as "New York Region 1 ODP." That’s a reference to the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) Olympic Development Program, where she has starred for the past two years.
Shannon started playing soccer at the age of five. She now plays center forward and center midfield in club ball with the Manhattan New York Pride of the Westchester Youth Soccer League (WYSL) after previously playing for the FC New York Martin Tigers of WYSL and North Salem Panthers of the East Hudson Youth Soccer League. The honor roll student played for the North Salem High School varsity team for three years and considers making varsity as a freshman her best moment ever on a soccer field so far. Shannon plans on studying forensic psychology/legal studies in college.
Although Shannon plays in the Olympic Development Program for Eastern New York and international soccer for Ireland, she’s not the only family member with an international pedigree. Her maternal grandfather Joe Kaylor played for the United States in team handball in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. He was 19 years old, the youngest member of the team, and team handball, a new Olympic event that year, was an outdoor sport at the time. When Adolf Hitler greeted the Americans, Joe and his teammates turned their back on the man who would be personally responsible for the death of millions during the next decade. Joe went on to become a Golden Gloves prizefighter, World War II soldier and was honored 60 years later at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta as the only living member of that 1936 handball squad before passing away in 1999.
The entire family is proud of their Irish heritage.
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.
Shannon's grandfather, Joe Kaylor, is sixth from the left.