By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
November 28, 2017-Oceanside United kicked off play as the first youth soccer club in Nassau County in 1962, pre-dating the founding of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) by a decade. Oceanside United, a proud member of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), has a long and storied history that includes sending dozens of players to the professional leagues, such as current US Women’s National Team player Allie Long, as well as hosting the oldest youth soccer indoor tourney, named after former player Rudy Lamonica.
Part of this history includes the alumni game, dubbed the Turkey Bowl since it’s played on Thanksgiving morning. The Turkey Bowl has been played on the fourth Thursday in November since 1990 and it has grown so large that it had to be split into two games this year so that all players received enough playing time. So the “old guys” played at Oceanside High School while the “young guys” showed their stuff at Oceanside Park.
In the young guys game that featured more goals than fouls, Oceanside Blue topped Oceanside Gold, 10-8. The Drumstick Award for Turkey Bowl MVP went to Joe Di Miceli, formerly captain of the Oceanside Fusion and now playing for RPI, for scoring six goals in a losing effort.
Players at the Turkey Bowl who grew up competing for Oceanside United were on the Fusion, Hawks and Tre Castagni travel teams as well as the LIJSL Select Team and Eastern New York’s Olympic Development Program (ODP). Other players currently wear the orange-and-navy blue of the Oceanside men’s team in the Long Island Soccer Football League (LISFL).
Those at the Turkey Bowl also coached Oceanside travel teams with the nicknames of Edge, Fusion, Mustangs, Pirates, Riptide, Twisters, Vikings and Warriors as well as Oceanside TOPSoccer, the LIJSL Select Team and Eastern New York ODP.
“All our history and camaraderie are the real reasons why people play this Beautiful Game and the fact is all these guys are part of our community and they still give back to the kids,” commented longtime Oceanside coach Rich Eisenberg who played in the Turkey Bowl.
Oceanside is not the only LIJSL club who welcomed back their alumni last week. The Garden City Centennial Soccer Club did the same as they have been doing for the past two decades and the Rockville Centre Soccer Club welcomed back their alumni as it has been doing since the mid-1960s. The reason that all three clubs chose Thanksgiving weekend is because many of its former players return home for the holiday.
With over 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and 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 Children With Special Needs. 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.