By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
June 25, 2013-It’s been a great past two months for Alicia D’Aoust. Last week, she graduated from seventh grade at Accompsett Middle School in Smithtown. The previous month, she was in Oregon from May 12 to 19 for the United States Girls-Under-14 National Youth Team training at the University of Portland.
In the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), Alicia has been playing forward for the Girls-Under-13 Smithtown Hotspur of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) for the past three years. She has been with the Smithtown Kickers soccer program since the age of four, first playing in intramurals and then with the Smithtown Firebirds before her most recent success with Smithtown Hotspur. The squad made the semifinals of the Manhattan Kick-Off Classic this past March.
"Playing in Long Island Junior allowed me to play with my hometown team, with my friends," she commented. "That’s what has always made soccer fun. Plus the training I’ve gotten there has helped me so much."
"My coach, JR Balzarini, did so much to help me," Alicia continued. "We had one-on-one sessions, I trained with older teams. He’s a big reason why I am where I am now and I can’t thank him enough. It’s huge, what he’s done for me."
Coach Balzarini said, "Alicia is one of the hardest working and most modest kids I have ever met. She puts in the time with her teammates and on her own to become a better player, which in today’s day and age of organized athletics is unique and special."
Alicia found out that she was invited to Portland when she read a message from US Soccer on her coach’s phone as she was working on her shooting after practice. The entire experience with the National Youth Team has given Alicia a new confidence in herself.
"I wasn’t that confident when I got to camp in Portland," she said. "But while I was there, I learned to be confident. I mean, I learned so much, but that was the biggest thing, learning to have confidence in myself and my ability."
"The whole experience was so much fun," she continued. "I had such a great time. But at the same time, it was such an honor to be there, and wearing that US team crest, I can’t really put that into words."
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. Eastern New York 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. Eastern New York 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.