Back row, from left to right: Coach Phil Bannister, David Targett, Riley Sullivan, Dominic Ferranola, Kyle Honor, Spencer Manus, James Mincone, Mike Sclafani
Front row, from left to right: Kurt Wesch, Dimitri Mendrinos, Matt Tidona, Jimmy Contino, Brian Flynn, Taylor Kaczynski, Chris Gruver, Chris McAuliff, Stephen Lauria
Kneeling: Josh Levine
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
July 13, 2016-The Dix Hills Elite of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) are heading to Frisco, Texas to play for the national championship from July 25 to 31 as the wildcard team from Region 1 after losing a hard-fought battle to Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley United 2-1 in the Regional Championship finals on July 5 in West Virginia. Dix Hills had made it to Regionals by beating that very same Lehigh Valley team, 2-1, in the Region 1 Champions League finals on May 8.
This will be the third trip to Nationals in the past four years for the now Boys-Under-18 team. In 2013 as a Boys-Under-15 side, Dix Hills lost in the national championship final in overtime to California’s Santa Barbara SC White on a penalty kick. The following year at Boys-Under-16, the boys came close again, losing in overtime in the semifinals to eventual national champion Baltimore Celtic.
Dix Hills played in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) State Open Cup finals for five consecutive years from 2011 to 2015, winning the state championship in the odd-numbered years (2011, 2013, 2015).
Dix Hills also competed in the National League for the past four years. In 2014, they became the first National League team not to give up a goal in league play. They finished with a 6-0-1 record, with 14 goals scored and seven consecutive shutouts, playing an amazing 560 minutes of soccer against nationally-ranked opponents without conceding a goal.
The boys are looking forward to going to Texas to seek the national championship that has eluded them and Eastern New York will be making a donation to help with their costs. While working around high school graduation parties and graduation trips, Dix Hills will be training several days a week and scrimmage the Boys-Under-19 Smithtown Arsenal, who are also regional champions and preparing for Nationals.
“This resilient bunch never gives up,” commented Dix Hills team manager Howard Manus.
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.