From left to right, scholarship winner Chloe Antalek, EHYSL President Jim Purdy and scholarship winner Kezia Lovell
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
July 18, 2018-The East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL) Dinner of Champions is a July tradition in the Hudson Valley, dating back almost all the way to the league’s founding four decades ago.
On July 10 and 11 at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor, the EHYSL honored 40 division champions and its four scholarship recipients. Each coach said very nice things about the team and introduced all the players. Nearly 1,000 players, coaches and family members attended this big event over the two nights.
The league has distributed the Michael Goldberg Scholarship Awards for over a quarter-century in memory of a young EHYSL player who passed away prematurely. Kezia Lovell and Olivia Racetta were honored as this year’s recipients.
Kezia Lovell played for the Poughkeepsie Phoenix for six years, capturing multiple league championships, as well as playing for the Arlington High School soccer varsity team. She has been a solid contributor to the school and the community, serving as a committee member and Co-President of the Diversity Club, working with kids at the Valley Christian Church and volunteering at the Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital as well as other community organizations. Kezia achieved a cumulative GPA of 99% and is ranked 134 of 848 classmates at Arlington High School and this fall she will be entering the nursing program at Adelphi University.
Over the course of her high school career, Olivia Racetta played for the Liberty United Red Devils as well as Liberty’s High School varsity soccer team, serving as team captain for two years. She played four varsity sports in all, was a significant contributor and award winner in the school chorus and served four years in Student Government as the Treasurer. Olivia won multiple academic and scholastic awards, including twice receiving the Outstanding School Citizen Award. With a cumulative GPA of 100% and a class rank of second, she will be attending Ohio State University this fall.
The Dan Herbst Scholarship Awards has been given for over 15 years in memory of Dan Herbst, who was an EHYSL Past President plus a devoted contributor to the Yorktown Youth Soccer Club. Chloe Antalek and Leah Thoma received the Dan Herbst Award in 2018.
Beacon High School’s Chloe Antalek has been a solid competitor and contributor to the EHYSL's soccer program, playing for the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association ODP team and the East Hudson Academy team for five years as well as for club team East Fishkill Fire. She is Beacon High School’s leading scorer, senior captain and All-League Select. Chloe has served the soccer community very well by volunteering time to train inner-city kids at the Newburgh Armory, participating in the Relay for Life “Kick ‘in Cancer” campaign and working with Beacon’s younger girls soccer programs. She is a member of both the National Honor Society member and Beacon High School Honor Roll, had a GPA of 93% and will be entering Nyack College this fall.
Leah Thoma has played and coached for the East Fishkill Soccer Club for over 10 years and played scholastically for John Jay High School, serving as team captain. Although not being able to physically play in her junior year and senior years, Leah still attended their events. She is a NYSPHSAA Scholar/Athlete Award winner for scholastic and athletic accomplishments. On campus, she was the President of the Renaissance Club, a peer mentor and a consistent member of both the Math and History Honor Society as well as the National Honor Society. She has been called an “Ambassador for John Jay High School.” With a GPA of 97% and a class rank in the top 10%, Illinois Wesleyan University is very lucky to have her on campus this fall.
“All four scholarship recipients are outstanding local players and have demonstrated exemplary academic and scholastic success during their four years of high school,” commented EHYSL President Jim Purdy.
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.