By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
November 16, 2012-On November 3, the Girls-Under-11 Manorville Starz should have been playing a Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) game against the Lindenhurst Lightning but Mother Nature had other ideas. New York and New Jersey were pounded by Hurricane Sandy, and Lindenhurst suffered as much as any community on Long Island, making soccer an after-thought. The rest of the LIJSL Fall Season was cancelled and many games in other Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) leagues were cancelled as well.
"I want to thank the LIJSL for cancelling the remainder of the season," said Tina Sarnicola, one of the coaches of the Lightning. "Several girls from our team have either lost their homes or have suffered severe damage. We have so much to focus on here at home, just trying to get things back to normal."
Of course, the girls would have loved to have met the Starz on the field that day, but one of the real positives to come out of the chaos of the last three weeks is that the Lindenhurst and Manorville teams have met in a much more meaningful way.
"When they found out about the devastation in our community, their soccer families got together and put together donations for our community," Coach Sarnicola said of the Manorville team. "Kristin, their head coach, drove out last weekend with an SUV load of donations. She drove out again the next day with donations, and they have also helped arrange a truck from Virginia to come next week with more supplies."
That truck is coming to Lindenhurst thanks to the efforts of Savannah Smith, a sophomore at Strasburg High School in Strasburg, Virginia. Savannah started a request on Facebook for donations to be made at walmart.com or Walmart stores in the Virginia towns of Winchester and Woodstock. People looking to make donations can go to http://www.Walmart.com/registry/wishlist/findawishlist
Savannah’s father, Brian, and his friend Joe Boyd have enlisted the help of Brian’s employer, Big G Express of Tennessee, to help in the relief effort. Big G is utilizing several trucks to deliver all the items to Lindenhurst as soon as the trucks are full. The Manorville girls have also asked to adopt the Lindenhurst team families affected for the holidays.
"Without soccer, we wouldn’t have had the fortune of meeting the coach, the players or their families and they have given so much to help our community," added Coach Sarnicola. "Manorville has really gone above and beyond for our community and they continue to want to do more. I am at a loss for words and eternally grateful."
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.