By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 4, 2012-The Eastern New York State Senior Association and Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association congratulate New Hyde Park resident Willie Dempsey, who was inducted into the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame at the 2012 Holiday Party on December 1 at Lido Restaurant on City Island. We honored Willie’s involvement with the New York Irish Rovers amateur soccer club for the past three decades.
"His club is the second winningest club in the league after only Glen Cove," said Gus Xikis, president of the Long Island Soccer Football League (LISFL).
The LISFL nominated Willie for the Eastern New York Hall of Fame after naming him a Life Member at its Annual Awards Dinner last June.
Willie started playing soccer at age five in County Longford, Ireland where he grew up as the second youngest of two brothers and nine sisters––all of whom played soccer. His 10 siblings and he could have formed their own family soccer team. Willie came to the United States at age 17 in May 1985 to stay with an aunt for the summer. He never left, and never missed an opportunity to play soccer.
"I landed on a Friday and I played my first game for the Rovers on a Sunday," Willie recalled.
Willie, who has played defender throughout his career, won 10 New York State championships, 20 Long Island championships, 24 Long Island Cups as a player and coach for the Irish Rovers. Proving that nice guys finish first, Rover teams have also won six LISFL Sportsmanship Awards too.
At age 46, he’s still playing on the Rovers’ reserve squad.
"I love getting out on a Sunday and putting the boots on," he said.
Willie became reserve coach in 1989 and first team coach in 1993. He won the Reserve League Cup for three consecutive years.
He has been President of the Irish Rovers since 1997 and is the LISFL’s Third Vice President.
"Soccer’s been my life and it’ll always be my life as long as I’m able to get up and do it," Dempsey said.
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.