Rocco Avallone and his family
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
February 3, 2015-Congratulations to the 2015 Italian-American Man of the Year, Rocco Avallone, who started his coaching career at the age of 15. He was honored by the Italian-American Soccer League of New York (IASL) in a ceremony on January 25 at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach.
Our honoree was born in Italy (Morra De Santis in the Province of Avellino) and emigrated at the age of three with his family to one of the most international towns in the world––Flushing, Queens––living there from 1966 to 1999. Rocco has lived in Dix Hills, Long Island since just before the turn of the millennium. He started playing for S.S. Cosma & Damiano in 1980, first as a defender and midfielder on the team which played in the IASL and now as a goalkeeper and forward on the squad playing in the Second Division of the Long Island Soccer Football League (LISFL). He’s toured his native country twice with S.S. Cosma & Damiano. Rocco also played as a defender for two years with the LISFL’s Dix Hills Apaches.
Rocco’s experience playing every position on the field comes in handy as a coach. As a teenager at the age of 15, he began coaching a Boys-Under-8 team for the Auburndale Soccer Club in 1979 and in 2002, he started coaching in the Dix Hills Soccer Club. Both Auburndale and Dix Hills play in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL). He currently coaches Boys-Under-18 Dix Hills Juventus, which plays in the LIJSL’s First Division as well as the Eastern New York Premier League (ENYPL).
“The news of Rocco winning the award did not come as a surprise to us, having seen the amount of hard work he puts into everything he does,” commented Jo Ann Linden, whose son, Connor, played on Dix Hills Juventus and is now a freshman in college. “This award is recognition of his talents, dedication, sincerity, kindness and generosity. Since the very beginning of Dix Hills Juventus, we have all seen him try hard to achieve the best results for the team and for each and every one of our boys. He made a huge impact in Connor’s life and, I am certain, so many of the boys!”
Rocco volunteered as Executive Secretary for the IASL from 1997 to ‘99 and is in his third year as Trustee for the LISFL. Rocco also serves as the Vice President of the United Youth Soccer Stars of New York, a youth group affiliated with the IASL that sends some of the most talented Boys-Under-17 to Boys-Under-19 soccer players in the New York metro area to Viareggio, Italy every year to play in one of the most prestigious youth tournaments in the world. Additionally, he was the General Manager for the 2004 Viareggio All-Star Team that played in Italy.
His “real job” is practicing law in New York and Connecticut and is a partner with Avallone & Bellistri, LLP in New Hyde Park. He’s done numerous pro-bono projects for many local soccer leagues and teams.
Rocco’s son Matthew plays on Dix Hills Juventus as well as the LIJSL’s Player Development Program and Half Hollow Hills High School West varsity. Like father, like son as Matthew has also been a guest player for S.S. Cosma & Damiano and played in the LISFL summer league for Oceanside.
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.