By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
November 5, 2014-The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) is very pleased to announce that New Dorp resident Eddie Gamarra is our Personality of the Month for November.
Eddie has been involved in soccer his entire life. He played the world’s most popular sport while growing up in Lima, Peru and competed for the youth team of renowned club Alianza Lima as a teenager. Enthusiasm for sports runs in his family as Eddie’s father was a championship Pan American Games athlete, his mother was a big basketball fan and his older brother, Galo, was a Senior PGA Pro.
Eddie immigrated to the United States in 1965 and has lived in New Dorp for the past 44 years. In 1980, his wife Peggy learned that Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish was looking to start a soccer program and urged Eddie to apply. Without much convincing, Eddie co-founded the soccer program with Sal Parello and the OLQP Blue Jays were born. His children––Eddie Jr., Mark and Matthew––all played for the program.
Eddie has served as the soccer program’s President since that time with a six-year hiatus from 1988 to 1994 when Robert Ollis filled that role. Eddie developed OLQP into a model program and has coached many teams, both boys and girls squads, through the years. Currently, 217 children––117 girls and 100 boys––proudly wear their blue and gold soccer uniforms while playing at Miller Field.
The now 71-year-old enjoys the fun-filled times with the club as it grew into a family and he has developed lifelong friends. The annual Club Soccer Dance has become a favorite event and always ends with the crowd clamoring for "One more hour!” and Eddie joyfully complying, convincing the DJ to continue the fun.
Eddie’s generosity is seen throughout the parish as he always finds a discreet way to cover the cost for a struggling family that can’t afford the fees. In 1986, this generosity and commitment was recognized when he was honored with the "Heroes and Heroines" award, a program that honors local residents for their outstanding work in the community.
“Eddie is a great friend and great leader of his organization,” commented Staten Island Youth Soccer League (SIYSL) President Bill Smith. ”He has always been about the children and is one of the fairest gentleman you could ever hope to meet. Many other people in Staten Island soccer look up to Eddie as well for advice and leadership. With 34 years involved with our league, I sometimes have to ask him how things were and what they would have done years ago.”
Eddie has served in various positions for the SIYSL, including Vice President, and was inducted into the SIYSL Hall of Fame in 2009. He now enjoys coaching the children of the players he once coached and is grateful for all the support he has received over the years.
“Probably my proudest moment on a soccer field occurred when two players who I coached, Joe Argento and Danny Cumminskey, returned and volunteered to coach my youngest son Matthew’s team,” Eddie said.
With 123,843 youth soccer players––68,587 boys and 55,256 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 12 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.