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
July 10, 2013-The Boys-Under-16 Smithtown Arsenal, representing the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) and Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), have won three State Open Cups and advanced to the Regional finals during the past three years, an amazing achievement. Their Regional championships in 2011 and 2013 were sandwiched around a 2012 heartbreaker in which Smithtown lost in the 12th round of the shootout to another Eastern New York team, Manhattan Paris Saint-Germain, in the final.
In this year’s Regional final at the University of Rhode Island on July 2, Smithtown topped Arlington SA Strikers Red of Arlington, Virginia, 1-0, on a first half goal by Harrison Weilbacher to win the Al Sinclair Cup. Keeper Noah Varonier saved a penalty kick and had the shutout in goal. Smithtown won all five games that they played at the Regionals and outscored their opponents 15-1.
The Regional final was déja vu all over again as Weilbacher scored the only goal of the game and Varonier saved a penalty kick in the 2013 State Open Cup final over Manhattan exactly a month before on June 2 in LaGrange, New York.
"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.
To prepare for the Nationals, Smithtown plans on training up to five nights a week, with a good deal of cardio work at first, then tapering off as they get closer to the Nationals from July 23 to 28 in Overland Park, Kansas.
"When we were at the Nationals in Arizona in 2011, we arrived a day before the competition started and never completely adjusted to the heat and time zone difference," commented Coach Lips. "This year, we’ll be flying to Kansas a few days earlier to get adjusted better."
Lips 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.
To defray their costs, Eastern New York donated $2,000 to Smithtown for making the Regionals and another $2,000 for qualifying for Nationals plus has paid all registration fees.
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.