By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
May 28, 2015-Eastern New York Hall of Famer Ken Gulmi, who volunteered as East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL) President for an amazing 22 years and has been on the Board of Directors of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) for the past two decades, has also been quite busy as a youth soccer coach. Ken coached the Mahopac Hurricanes for 11 years, the Mahopac Indians and Mahopac Spirit girls for a combined five years as well as a Mahopac intramural team, the Golden Eagles, for six years. The past 16 years have been spent coaching two boys teams––the Mahopac Knights for seven years and the Yorktown Knights for nine.
Gulmi is currently coaching Yorktown in EHYSL’s Boys-Under-19, Division 1. And his former Knights players who are now too old for youth soccer are moving on to compete in the Under-23 division of the Greater Hudson Valley Soccer League (GHVSL) this summer. Those players agreed on the name FC Knights and on two uniforms––one light blue, one in purple––with Gulmi’s face on the front of the jersey as a tribute to their longtime coach. The image was created through applying a Photoshop filter (to a photo of Gulmi) by central defender Peter Zambelletti, who studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
“We are honoring Ken since he’s been great to all of us,” commented forward/defender Duane T. Jackson. “He brought us all together, many when we were sophomores in high school and did not have a team to play on, and he volunteered as our coach for many years.”
Forward Doug McKim is the one current Yorktown Knight who will be playing for FC Knights. 15 other players who already aged out from the EHYSL team are on FC Knights with two players from the Marist College men’s team, Axel Ender and Steven Arriano, becoming Knights for the first time.
Although home games will be played at Joe Palumbo Soccer Fields in Putnam Valley, the Knights kick off their season vs. East Fishkill at 6 pm this Sunday at Doherty Park in Beekman.
Gulmi is not the only adult in this article being described by superlatives as Jackson’s father, Duane M. Jackson, is an American hero. The elder Jackson is a Vietnam veteran and handbag vendor who owns street vending locations in Times Square. On May 1, 2010, he and Lance Orton, another street vendor, alerted the NYPD to smoke coming out of a Nissan Pathfinder SUV parked awkwardly in Times Square, foiling a terrorist attack as the crude bomb inside was eventually disarmed. Faisal Shahzad was arrested after he boarded a flight to Dubai at Kennedy Airport two days later.
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.