LIJSL photo of the new Hall of Famers. From left to right, Joe Camarda, Theresa Dawes and Bessie Lamonica, all with LIJSL President Anthony Maresco.
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
March 15, 2018-On Friday night, March 9, during the 36th Annual Long Island Junior Soccer League Convention, three longtime volunteers who have made a huge difference on Long Island’s soccer fields––Joe Camarda, Theresa Dawes and Bessie Lamonica––were inducted into the LIJSL Hall of Fame. The LIJSL Hall of Fame now has 109 members.
Joe Camarda grew up playing in the LIJSL and is the President of the Rocky Point Soccer Club. He’s also its founder, having created it in 2007. In those early days, Joe was also the registrar, trainer plus field supervisor and coordinator. The club started with 15 intramural players and joined the LIJSL in 2010. Joe was instrumental in developing the relationships to help grow the club. Today, Rocky Point boasts 19 travel teams and 600 registered players. Yet despite this success, Joe can still be found on the field coaching, lining fields or working with the Rocky Point School District regarding field permits. Additionally, Joe coached the St. Anthony’s High School JV, LIU Post as an assistant coach and is currently the boys varsity coach at Rocky Point High School.
Joe stated in his acceptance speech, “The LIJSL has been a part of my life for the past 40 years. Joan Czach (the LIJSL Executive Director) was my coach and mentor in the LIJSL and she was like a second mother to me.”
Theresa Dawes began her soccer career when her son Michael, now 30, was just four years old and she registered him as an intramural player in the Terryville Soccer Club. She volunteered as Chairperson of Terryville’s Referees, Commissioner and Secretary on the Board of Directors and served as the club’s Treasurer for over a decade. After her second child, Francesca, was born, she began coaching her from the age of four all the way to Under-19. Theresa is still involved in the club as Special Events Planner, organizing the club picnic for over 15 years, and coordinates community service events such as serving lunch twice a year to the senior citizens of the community. On the league level, she has volunteered for over a decade on the Games Committee and Registration Committee plus serves on the Players’ Arbitration Board. Additionally, she has volunteered for the past eight years with the Long Island Cup and serves as Banquet Chairperson at the LIJSL Convention.
Bessie Lamonica might stand under 5 feet tall but she is a gentle giant in Long Island youth soccer. Her volunteering began way back in 1962 when her son Rudy started playing on Oceanside United’s very first team. Sadly, Rudy died from bone cancer in 1970. Despite this tragedy regarding their only son, Bessie and husband Phil Lamonica founded Oceanside United’s girls program two years later in 1972. Just as Rudy played on the first boys team, their daughter Donna played on the first girls team a decade later, with Phil and Bessie serving as the team’s coaches. Bessie has been volunteering at the oldest youth soccer indoor tournament since its inception in 1968, which was named the Rudy Lamonica Indoor Tournament after her son’s passing. Bessie handed out trophies at the tourney on January 27 and 28. Additionally, she was in charge of the tournament journal and Oceanside United’s team sponsorship program for decades. She and Phil were inducted into the Eastern New York Hall of Fame in 2001 before his passing a decade ago and she was honored as Personality of the Month in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) last June.
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 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.