Coach Ranford Champagnie (far right) and 2014 CUNY champion Baruch College.
Photo courtesy of Baruch College.
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
September 2, 2015-The September Personality of the Month in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) has an appropriate last name as the first five letters spell “champ” and Ranford Champagnie has been a champion in youth soccer as well as high school and college soccer. He is nicknamed “Penny” since his surname is pronounced “Sham-Penny” and he grew up playing soccer in Eastern New York and on the island of Jamaica, helped lead St. John’s University to the NCAA championship as a player and has coached the Baruch College men’s soccer team to the past three City University of New York (CUNY) titles.
“Penny is a great example of someone who has reached and touched the stars and then is generous enough to pass on his knowledge and experience to today's youth and tries to push them to succeed on and off the field,” commented CUNY Athletic Conference Executive Director Zak Ivkovic. “His success at Baruch speaks for itself and we are very happy to have him represent the CUNY brand.”
Penny grew up in the Bronx and won a division championship with James Monroe High School, where he received the Eagles’ Iron Horse Award as MVP. He spent more than a penny in subway fare to cross boroughs and play for the Brooklyn Rovers of the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL), winning the State Open Cup. Besides the CJSL, he also played youth soccer in Jamaica for Real Mona FC and Midhaven FC. Perhaps he is best known for helping lead the St. John’s Red Storm as a sophomore to the 1996 NCAA national championship while playing right midfield, center midfield and defensive back. It was the first-ever NCAA championship St. John’s ever won (in any sport) and the only other Red Storm team since to win the NCAA title was the 2001 fencing team.
Penny continued playing high-level soccer in the New York metro area for the Brooklyn Knights, New York Freedoms and Westchester Flames and got into coaching. He was appointed as the Baruch men's soccer coach on December 15, 2003, after previously serving as an assistant coach during the 2001 and 2002 seasons.
During his first season as head coach, Penny led the Bearcats to their first-ever CUNY championship and appearance in the NCAA playoffs. For his efforts, he was named the 2004 CUNY Coach of the Year. He repeated those same accomplishments in 2006, as the Bearcats again won the CUNY title, returned to play in the NCAA playoffs and was named for the second time as CUNY Coach of the Year.
Penny has coached the Bearcats to the past three CUNY titles (2012-14) and they prepare for CUNY title #6 this fall, which ironically was his number at St. John’s. From never winning the conference championship before he took over as head coach, Penny’s leadership has been invaluable as he has coached Baruch to five CUNY titles in his 11 years in charge.
“What has been pivotal in Baruch winning these championships has been our organization and dedication by the kids and our wonderful staff,” Coach Champagnie commented. “I also learned a great deal from my coaches while growing up, particularly Coach Emilio, who taught me the technical aspect of the game, and Coach Dixon, my coach at Brooklyn Rovers who taught me the broader mental part of the game.”
The 39-year-old lives in Brooklyn with wife Christina and twin sons Julian and Justin. Congratulations to Ranford “Penny” Champagnie, the Personality of the Month in Eastern New York.
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.
Ranford Champagnie, #6, winning the NCAA championship in 1996. Photo courtesy of the NCAA.