By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
October 16, 2013-When the Huntington Boys Club and Massapequa Soccer Club separately started Special Children’s Programs in 1979, they were the first special soccer programs not only in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) and Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) but in all of humanity. At a time when Special Children playing sports was not nearly as accepted as it is today.
Soccer in the United States was not as accepted back then as it is today either even though the Cosmos were attracting record crowds to the Meadowlands.
Over three decades later, the LIJSL TOPSoccer Special Children’s Program is still going strong with 20 LIJSL clubs from Queens to Suffolk now fielding teams. The Cosmos have rebooted and are playing at James M. Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University.
These two integral parts of New York soccer––a vibrant TOPSoccer Special Children’s Program and the Cosmos––will come together this Sunday, October 20. The Cosmos will be hosting FC Edmonton at 4 pm at Shuart Stadium. Before the game, the LIJSL’s Special Children will be playing at Shuart from 2 to 3 pm in front of thousands of people coming for the Cosmos game. Tickets are available for the Cosmos game for the Special Children and their families for the discounted price of $10.
This has been a very busy fall for the Special Children as many played in the Special Olympics in Cantiague Park in Hicksville on September 28 and in the New Hyde Park Special Children’s Tournament on October 5. Some 500 people are expected to attend the LIJSL Special Children’s Awards Lunch at the Huntington Hilton on Sunday, November 10 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Using the slogan of "Come Play With Me," the LIJSL TOPSoccer Special Children’s Program is for those kids with mental and/or physical challenging conditions and accommodates those children who are not able to participate in a regular or mainstream soccer activity. It provides an opportunity for that child who deviates from the average or normal child in mental, physical or social characteristics to such an extent that he or she requires modified educational practices and services in order to develop to his or her maximum capacity.
For more information about registering your child in this very special program, please contact chairperson Ann Marie Toth at 516-694-3567.
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.