By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
October 29, 2013-The South Shore soccer hamlet of Oceanside was particularly hit by Hurricane Sandy a year ago and the Oceanside Fusion of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) was no exception as six players were displaced from their homes, including the home of goalkeeper Peter Zarba, living in the neighboring town of Island Park. The Zarbas received over a foot of water on their first floor and the family just finished rebuilding.
But that was far from the biggest challenge confronting Peter in the past year as his father, Peter Sr., died suddenly of a heart attack on February 8, 2013. He had become physically challenged after suffering a spinal cord injury in a car accident when he was a college student.
"Peter Zarba Sr. loved watching his son play, and he would make it to just about every game, even if it meant pushing his wheelchair through dirt, stones or grass fields," Ron Miller, a Fusion coach, stated. "He always had a smile and a kind word and his passing hit the team hard."
Peter said, "His loss has been devastating for me as he was a huge part of my life that cannot be replaced."
The Fusion coaches agreed that Peter responded with having one of his best seasons, highlighted by a victory over the Southampton Strikers in the Long Island Cup quarterfinals that the team won 4-3 after eight rounds of the shootout, as well as a shootout victory over the Hauppauge Azzurri that put Oceanside into the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) State Cup final. That shootout lasted an incredible 12 rounds of penalty kicks and Peter even scored a goal on his turn.
Last spring, Oceanside had an overall record of 17-3-0. On June 16 at the Three Village Soccer Park in Stony Brook, Oceanside blanked the Albertson Lions, 3-0, in the Long Island Cup final with Brandon Tarrash, Zachary Brooks and Jason Rosa scoring the goals. Peter got the shutout in goal and says that winning the Long Island Cup final was his best moment ever on a soccer field.
Along with the LIJSL Division 2 championship and the Manalapan Memorial Day Tournament title in New Jersey, that was an amazing three titles in four weeks for the Fusion.
Peter has played for the LIJSL’s Oceanside United during his entire life, beginning with intramural pee-wees, then the Oceanside Inferno coached by Anthony Palumbo and now the Fusion, which is currently 2-1-2 in LIJSL Division 1.
"Peter is following in his father’s footsteps as his dad was also a soccer goalkeeper," commented Fusion coach Steve Padaetz. "I have been most impressed with his maturity both on and off the field. Through Hurricane Sandy and his own personal ordeal, Peter has been a tremendous source of strength to his teammates."
Entering Holy Trinity High School as a 14-year-old freshman this fall, Peter earned the starting goalkeeper position on the varsity and played against opponents three years older on such powerhouse teams as St. Anthony’s, St. John the Baptist and Chaminade.
"I love playing against older players," Peter said. "They play more physical and they have harder, more accurate shots which helps me improve my game."
"And I know that my father is watching over me and he helps me through every game and situation."
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.