By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
October 3, 2018-In order to say “soccer,” you have to start with “sock,” so it makes perfect sense that a young man playing in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) is known for his crazy theme socks.
Huntington resident John Cronin started playing for the Huntington Boys Club TOPSoccer Program when he was five years old and it was the first organized sport he played. He is now 22 years old.
John Cronin receiving a trophy for HBC as a kid. Photo courtesy of the Cronin family.
John has Down Syndrome but that did not stop him from graduating from Huntington High School when he was 21 years old last year. He had the entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to go into business with his father Mark and they decided on theme socks, which John has worn his entire life. John’s Crazy Socks opened for business in Huntington in December 2016. After videos of John went viral, the orders started pouring in, selling more than 40,000 pairs of socks and raking in more than $2 million in their first year of operation.
As Chief Happiness Officer, John sends a thank-you note and candy with every order as part of their goal of “Spreading Happiness.” 5% of their profits go to the Special Olympics and other charities plus 18 of the 35 employees have differing abilities just like John.
John and his father spoke in a Senate hearing room on Capitol Hill last Monday about “A Truly Inclusive Society: Encouraging the Ability in Disability.”
It’s been a very busy past 10 days for John because at Cantiague Park in Hicksville on Saturday, September 22, he helped lead HBC TOPSoccer to the silver medal at the Special Olympics. Since opponents Sachem were wearing unforgettable black socks with large yellow polka dots, John was asked what he thought of Sachem’s socks and he said, “I like them!”
HBC TOPSoccer during the Special Olympics. John Cronin is directly behind his coach.
He also currently plays basketball, snowshoe plus track and field and previously competed in floor hockey and bowling. John does a Special Olympics Plunge every year.
His father Mark explained, “John has learned many of the same lessons that his two brothers and others have learned through sports. When John started playing soccer, he could barely kick the ball. Over the years, he has improved as an athlete and as a soccer player, developing skills and understanding the game. He has learned teamwork, discipline, sportsmanship, competition and the value of having long-term goals. He would not have the confidence to start his own business or make the appearances that he does without this experience.“
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 nine 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 onto http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.