Back row, left to right-Antonio Scanni, Matt Hellerman, Zach Pogrob, Matt Aprile, Chris Abruzzo, Jake Giuffrida, Noah Varonier, Alejandro Ruiz, Garrett Sweeney, Chris Hettler
Front row, left to right-Moosah Khanat, Steve Dovi, Doug Toledo, Casey Abelein, TJ Butzke, Harrison Weilbacher, Beau Hornberger, Steve Braccioforte, Matt McDonnell, Joe Lomonaco
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 24, 2013-Those soccer fans who asked Santa to be able to watch the defending Boys-Under-16 national champions in action are about to get their Christmas wish. This Friday, December 27, ESPN3 will be televising the US Youth Soccer National League game between our own Smithtown Arsenal and Tennessee SC 15. Kick-off is at 8:30 am at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Florida.
Smithtown, who represented the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) so well at Nationals last July in Kansas, have a 3-0-1 record in the Boys-Under-17 Red Division, two points behind Ohio’s CUP Gold 96/97. At 1-1-2, a win for Tennessee would propel it into contention for a top two finish in the division. While Smithtown is in second place in the Red Division, another Eastern New York team, Manhattan Paris Saint-Germain, is tied for second in the Blue Division.
The National League features the top 160 teams in the Under-14 through Under-18 boys and girls age groups. With 16 teams divided into two divisions per age group, each squad had to earn their place in the league through their success in US Youth Soccer Regional Leagues and National Championship Series play.
At Nationals last summer, Smithtown won all four of their games, scoring 10 goals and conceding one. They defeated Georgia’s GSA Phoenix 97 Red, 2-0, in the final.
To earn their way into the championship game, Smithtown ended the two-year reign of California’s Fullerton Rangers in the final group match. In the Nationals during the past three years, Fullerton had 10 consecutive shutouts but their shutout and win streak ended when Smithtown’s Christopher Hettler headed in a cross off a free kick in the 18th minute to end Fullerton’s two-year reign by giving Smithtown the 1-0 win.
"The reason for our success is a combination of parental support, our tactical approach plus we have talented players who work hard and have a tremendous personal desire to win," said Smithtown coach Tom Lips. He is a former Eastern New York ODP coach who played professionally with the New England Revolution, Long Island Rough Riders plus FC St. Gallen of the Swiss First Division.
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 11 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.