From left to right: Eastern New York State Adult Soccer Association First Vice President Albino Guimaraes, 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Vincenzo Valente and Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association President Richard Christiano.
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 17, 2015-Congratulations to Vincenzo Valente, the newest member of the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place at the 2015 Holiday Party organized by both the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Eastern New York State Adult Soccer Association on December 6 at Marina del Rey in the Bronx.
Vincenzo grew up playing soccer in Bari, Italy. He emigrated to the United States and lived in the Bronx when he was not serving in the Armed Forces from 1959 to 1961. He joined Mount Carmelo’s CYO and played many games at Van Cortland Park.
In 1972, Vincenzo founded a soccer club, Associazione Sportiva Bisceglie, named after the part of southeastern Italy where he grew up. The club joined the Italian-American Soccer League (IASL) and in its inaugural season of 1973-74, the team received Coppa Disciplina, the IASL Sportsmanship Award.
Two years later, Vincenzo was elected Recording Secretary of the adult soccer association and started serving on multiple committees.
In 1989, he partnered with Adult Soccer Association president Sal Rapaglia and Vito Bavaro, President of the Bagnarese team from New Jersey, to form the Northeast Super Soccer League, the closest thing to a professional outdoor soccer league in the New York metro area at the time after the folding of the original North American Soccer League in 1985. Vincenzo served as the Northeast League’s president and started a joint venture with the Hellenic-American Soccer League in 1995, a year before Major League Soccer kicked off.
In 1990, Vincenzo, along with Sal Rapaglia and Alfonso Vargas, got the construction of the Cropsey Avenue Fields in Brooklyn off the ground.
Now retired and living in South Setauket, Long Island, Vincenzo enjoys watching his grandchildren play the beautiful game.
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.