By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
June 30, 2022-Sportsmanship is encouraged in all nine leagues in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA). Three of our leagues even take their emphasis on fair play even further.
42 years ago, in 1980, Rocco Amoroso was concerned after witnessing poor behavior on youth soccer fields so he created the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) Sportsmanship Program. For every league match since, approximately 400,000 LIJSL games, the match referee grades each team on the conduct of players, coaches and spectators, overall game conduct and player appearance. The team with the most points in each division at the conclusion of the regular season receives the LIJSL Sportsmanship Award and proudly wears the sportsmanship patch on their shirt sleeves the following season(s).
Nearly a decade ago, the East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL) introduced the Scout Program to improve the youth soccer experience for all. Scouts have 10 years of experience or more in youth soccer as coaches, referees and administrators. They introduce themselves to coaches and refs before every game they attend and discourage any behavior contrary to the league’s ideals. In their mandatory weekly reports, the Scouts give the EHYSL an excellent sampling what is happening at each field complex they go to during the season and what can be improved.
This year, the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL) became a Sideline Project Partner and all parents, coaches, referees and spectators were encouraged to join The Sideline Project movement and take The Sideline Project Pledge (TheSidelineProject.com). The CJSL, in partnering with the Soccer Parenting Association, seeks to improve the experience and development for youth soccer players by improving sideline behavior and engaging, supporting and educating youth soccer coaches and parents.
Even with all our leagues encouraging sportsmanship and three leagues going one step further with these programs, there will occasionally be problematic incidents that are a major reason why there is a soccer referee shortage both in Eastern New York and throughout the United States. So when the carrot does not work, Eastern New York resorts to the stick. Players and coaches who display poor behavior that are written up in referee reports are suspended and their clubs are fined. These penalties can be severe as the longest penalty handed out during the recently-concluded Spring Season was a three-year suspension.
It’s unfortunate that children and teenagers playing a game can get to this point in a small portion of our games but our volunteers spend time in arbitration meetings making sure that justice is served and that all our players and referees are protected.
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 onto http://www.enysoccer.com/