The 71s in white and the 72s in orange before the game
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
September 4, 2014-We at the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) know that the friendships forged on soccer fields can last a lifetime. One example is the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) Select Team of boys born in 1971.
As teenagers, the 71s won the Pocono Cup in Pennsylvania and played in the Dallas Cup in Texas and the 1987 Pelé Cup all over Brazil. With the World Cup being played in Brazil this past summer, the teammates, now in their early 40s, decided to have a reunion. So they met at Lily Flanagan’s in Babylon on June 14 and watched the Italy-England World Cup game from Manaus, Brazil, a place they had visited in 1987. Their coach, Bill Easteadt, even was there as the former teammates from all over the East Coast came to Long Island and the party lasted much longer than they had the room booked for.
Seeing the publicity about the 71s, who call themselves the “best LIJSL Select Team ever,” was the LIJSL Select Team of boys born in 1972. This team had also won the Pocono Cup and played in the Dallas Cup as teenagers. They too were still in touch with one another so they challenged the 71s to a friendly game which took place on Saturday, August 23 at the New York Cosmos training field in the Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale.
Many players on the field were high school and college All-Americans two decades before and all are still involved in soccer in some way. Some are in playing shape and some are a few pounds over.
With many current Eastern New York youth soccer coaches on the field, perhaps it’s not surprising that the teams concentrated on keeping their defensive shape and no goals were scored at the start. But when Brian Anselmo scored for the 71s in the 15th minute, the floodgates opened and the 71s topped the 72s, 8-7.
Anselmo scored a hat trick, Jason Renick added two goals, Michael Blackton and Joe Ferrante scored one goal and Craig Marino notched the winning goal. For the 72s, Brian Sentowski scored four goals, Brandon Cruz added two goals with an additional tally by former U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Chris Armas.
So the 71s can keep their unofficial title of “best LIJSL Select Team ever,” at least for another year. There is talk of them playing in a tournament in Upstate New York or playing the 72s again next summer.
“It was great seeing that my former players still have skills and can think on the field,” commented Coach Easteadt. “Most of all, it was great to see their families and future soccer stars playing on the side.”
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.