Jessica Lee with West Hempstead TOPSoccer players
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
November 22, 2019-The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) is thrilled to announce that 16-year-old Jessica Lee, our Eastern New York TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year, has also been selected as the Regional TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year and the National TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year. Jessica will be honored by Eastern New York at our Holiday Party on December 7 at Marina del Rey in the Bronx and at the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala on January 18, 2020 in Baltimore in conjunction with the United Soccer Coaches Convention.
TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a community-based training program for all athletes with intellectual, emotional and/or physical challenges. The program strives to provide soccer opportunities for players to develop at their own pace in a safe, fun plus a supportive and inclusive environment.
Jessica was nominated by her mother Lauren Lee, now the Director of the West Hempstead Chiefs TOPSoccer Program in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), who wrote:
In 2010, our family put together a one-day soccer clinic for challenged players to see what kind of interest there would be in our community. Jessica Lee was just seven years old for that clinic. She proudly wore a shirt that read “Nothing Can Stop Us.” Jessica loves playing soccer and thoroughly believed that all kids should have the same opportunity. Jessica’s enthusiasm for the program was the driving force for our family to start a TOPSoccer Program in our community…
Last fall, Jessica decided to incorporate a breast cancer awareness fundraiser into our TOPSoccer Program. She designed pink t-shirts with the slogan, West Hempstead Soccer Kicks Cancer. She presented the program to her teammates at Kellenberg High School to come to the event and be a buddy at TOPSoccer. She taught her teammates what they needed to know about being a coach/buddy. She invited players and parents from soccer clubs plus West Hempstead and Kellenberg students where everyone saw our TOPSoccer players and buddies having a great day playing soccer. She enlisted a friend’s dad to DJ the event. Our TOPSoccer that day was filled with extra excitement that included soccer and a dance contest to close out the day. We raised $1,400 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation...
Jessica wants to study psychology in college to be able to work with Children With Special Needs. She grew up in our TOPSoccer program and has a wonderful perspective on giving back to her community and making sure that all kids have a chance to play soccer.
Congratulations to Jessica, who is Eastern New York's first national winner since Nkosi Burgess scored the 2012 National Goal of the Year.
With approximately 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 on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.