From left to right, Tim Kane, Justin Weinert and Stephen Betz with the Excel Cup
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
May 4, 2018-Three boys from the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) travelled to Scotland with the 2002 Boys East Region Olympic Development Program (ODP) and won the Excel Cup during Spring Break from April 7 to 15.
Tim Kane and Justin Weinert are central defenders, Stephen Betz is the central midfielder and all three have developed their skills with Eastern New York ODP for the past four years. In club soccer, Kane plays for the Cedar Stars Academy of the Staten Island Youth Soccer League (SIYSL) while Weinert and Betz are teammates on the Levittown Gunners of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL).
The Excel Cup, organized by Worldstrides, offered an opportunity for many of the best players from each country to compete against one another. Playing against youth teams of Scottish professional clubs, East Region ODP defeated Celtic, 4-3, then was shut out by Hearts, 4-0, before defeating Airdrie, 3-0, Alloa Athletic FC, 3-1, and topping East Kilbride in the shootout, 4-2, to take the Excel Cup.
ODP is considered the highest level of competition in state associations. Each year, players must be re-evaluated by the ODP professional staff of coaches for a position on each age-specific team. The identification process ends with the most elite players within the region competing for a position on the regional team. Players are then identified by US Soccer staff coaches for possible entry to the national team program. Crystal Dunn and Allie Long are two Eastern New York ODP players who are playing on the US Women’s National Team yet even those players who do not make the regional or national teams often use ODP as a springboard to college scholarships and even on to pro soccer.
The Scotland trip was not all soccer as the players and their families were able to tour Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Paisley in-between games.
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 onto http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.