By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
January 3, 2018-Besides the joy of running up and down a soccer field with their friends engaging in the wonderful cardiovascular exercise that is soccer plus the excitement of mastering control over a soccer ball, here are 18 reasons why over 100,000 New York children and teenagers are playing in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) in 2018:
1. State Open Cup. The State Open Cup is back to single elimination and concludes with the finals on June 2 and 3 at Stringham Park in LaGrange, which has hosted the finals for the past decade. You have to be in it to win it as Massapequa Arsenal did by entering the Boys-Under-19 State Open Cup in 2015 and they wound up winning the prestigious McGuire Cup, emblematic of the national championship in that age group. Massapequa is now part of the historic legacy of the McGuire Cup, first awarded 83 years ago back in 1935.
2 and 3. Arch Cup-Platinum and Arch Cup-Gold. The Arch Cup kicks off with three games of group play in the first round. The Arch Cup finals return to Long Island, after being played at Stringham Park last year, as the title games will be played on June 9 at the Peter Collins Soccer Park in Plainview. Unlike the State Open Cup, you need not be the best team in the state to win the Arch Cup and it’s divided into two skill categories, Platinum and Gold. So with three levels of the State Cup––State Open Cup, Arch Cup-Platinum and Arch Cup-Gold––every travel team has a realistic chance to win a State Cup. Thanks to our friends at Arch Capital Group who provide funds for the Arch Cup so that our players can keep on dreaming.
4. Eastern New York Premier League. Many of the top teams in each of Eastern New York’s 11 travel team leagues are accepted into the Eastern New York Premier League (ENYPL) every year so that they can play comparable opponents in competitive games. In the hierarchy of youth soccer, the ENYPL is above travel team play and below the Eastern Regional League. The Fall 2017 champions receive free registration for the ENYPL this spring plus the top two teams this spring automatically qualify for the semifinals of the State Open Cup being played in May.
5. Eastern Regional League. This league of the best teams from Maine to Virginia is split into competitive divisions and teams play one game per day with flexible scheduling. How popular has the Eastern Regional League become? 368 Premier teams have been accepted into the league this spring.
6. National League. Offers additional exposure to collegiate, professional and US National Team coaches and showcases the highest level of competition in the country. Teams play a seven-game schedule over two weekends, facing each squad within its age group division one time. Dix Hills Hurricanes and Dix Hills Elite both recently won National League with the latter being the first team not to concede a goal all season. The league is so highly thought of that one of Smithtown Arsenal’s National League games was televised by ESPN3.
7. Olympic Development Program. ODP is considered the highest level of competition in the state. 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 each summer with the most elite players within Region 1 competing for a position on the regional team. Players are then identified by United States Soccer Federation (USSF) 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 Region 1 or the national teams often use ODP as a springboard to college scholarships and even on to professional soccer.
8. Futsal. Futsal is the only version of indoor soccer approved by FIFA, soccer’s world governing body. Many of Brazil’s best players ever such as Pelé, Zico, Socrates, Bebeto, Ronaldinho and Marta all played a version of this 5v5 developmental game as children. Nearly 200 youth soccer teams are playing futsal in Manhattan gyms this winter in New York Futsal, under the umbrella of Eastern New York.
9. TOPSoccer. This is a wonderful program for Children With Special Needs. Special Children playing soccer in an organized league actually started in Eastern New York back in 1978 when the Huntington Boys Club (HBC) and Massapequa Soccer Club separately started programs in an era when Special Children playing sports is not as accepted as it is today. Craig Ludin, who has Down’s Syndrome and has been playing for HBC since he was a young boy, received so many medals in the Special Olympics that he has been inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
10. Risk Management. To protect our players, Eastern New York conducts background checks on coaches and referees before they participate in our games. They must pass this background check every two years to continue to be involved in our competitions. Eastern New York also provides awareness education to coaches, communicating information regarding field and player safety.
11. Working to Prevent Player Injuries. Eastern New York is very pleased to prevent player injuries through the At Peak educational app that was provided to our over 100,000 players, as well as their parents and coaches. The app delivers strength and conditioning exercises and video workouts, specific to age, gender and sport, that are designed by medical professionals for youth athletes plus has a social platform where teammates can interact, upload photos, view sports-related video content and challenge one another in trivia contests.
12. College Scholarships. Every summer, Eastern New York awards college scholarships to help defray the cost of college for deserving high school seniors. Five Eastern New York leagues––Capital District Youth Soccer League, Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League, East Hudson Youth Soccer League, Long Island Junior Soccer League and the Staten Island Youth Soccer League––all have separate scholarship programs as well.
13. Coaching Education. Under the supervision of Eastern New York Director of Coaching Instruction Tim Bradbury, the coaching licensing curriculum provides all soccer coaches, from the beginner to the advanced, with up-to-date theoretical and practical knowledge so that Eastern New York coaches can help our players develop to their full potential. Coaches can earn state and national coaching credentials plus the courses offer valuable information and current coaching trends state-wide, nationally and internationally. All courses are available in both English and Spanish.
14. Referee Certification. Every Eastern New York game is officiated by a referee and often two assistant referees. All these officials must pass a rules test after attending a certification class administered by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). Annually, officials must pass a written rules test as well as a physical fitness test to be able to continue to referee––also administered by the USSF. Officials can improve through gaining game experience, clinics and field assessments.
15. SAT and ACT Prep Courses. Eastern New York provides exclusive, free access to acclaimed SAT and ACT prep courses from eKnowledge, which is normally a $250 value. These courses can be taken online or via DVD, which makes them ideal for our busy student/athletes.
16. Social Media. Besides our website, http://www.enysoccer.com, Eastern New York gets a ton of play on social media with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr sites.
17. Hall of Famers. The Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League, East Hudson Youth Soccer League, Long Island Junior Soccer League and the Staten Island Youth Soccer League all have Halls of Fame, just as Eastern New York does. The Hall of Famers have given incredible amounts of time volunteering to make a difference on soccer fields and many are still involved in Eastern New York programs today.
18. A Long and Proud History. The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association was founded in 1972, although two of our leagues––the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League and Long Island Junior Soccer League––pre-date our existence. We are very proud of both our soccer legacy and phenomenal growth as millions of kids have played soccer in Eastern New York. Although some have gone on to play professional soccer plus in the World Cup and Olympics, all have learned the value of teamwork, perseverance, sportsmanship and getting along with others through the life lessons they have learned on our soccer fields.
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.