By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
November 6, 2013-Congratulations to midfielder Niccola Venezia! The junior at St. Anthony’s High School has used her six years playing for the Olympic Development Program (ODP) of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and her five years playing for Region 1 ODP to win a soccer scholarship to the University of Miami.
The hiring of a former Eastern New York ODP player, Mary-Frances Monroe, as the new head coach of the Hurricanes solidified Niccola’s choice of college.
"She was my regional coach so I have known her for a few years and she has been a great mentor to me," Niccola stated. "I was deciding among a few different schools and after I found out she was the new coach, I knew the University of Miami was the perfect fit for me. I wanted to go to a team where I could contribute, along with become a better player, and I know she will push me to my full potential just as my club coach Jaime Gonzalez did."
Mary-Frances, formerly an Eastern New York ODP coach, had herself used ODP to gain a scholarship to the University of Connecticut, where she was named the Soccer America Freshman Player of the Year in 1998. It was then on to the U.S. Women’s National Team and professional soccer for her.
Niccola, a Wantagh resident, has played midfield for the five-time State Cup champion Farmingdale United of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) for the past six years. Prior to Farmingdale, she played for the LIJSL’s Massapequa Explosion after playing in the intramural programs of the Massapequa Soccer Club and Wantagh/Seaford Soccer Club. She started playing organized soccer at the age of seven.
"Niccola is what all coaches hope they can have in a player," commented Farmingdale United coach Jaime Gonzalez. "Her ability to read and digest the game as it is being played is what makes her so special. She brings such poise and technically-sound play to each and every game that it makes her so much fun to watch."
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.