By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
February 23, 2023-The non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) is very pleased to name Lauren Lee to the volunteer position of TOPSoccer Chairperson.
TOPSoccer stands for The Outreach Program for Soccer, an innovative program run by volunteers, which provides a safe and fun environment plus an opportunity for the child who deviates from the average kid in mental, physical or social characteristics and requires modified educational practices and services in order to develop to his or her potential. The first program started in Eastern New York when the Huntington Boys Club (HBC) and Massapequa Soccer Club separately kicked off programs back in 1978 at a time when Special Children playing sports was not as readily accepted as it is today.
From those first steps, Long Island continues to have by far the largest TOPSoccer Program in Eastern New York. Lauren founded West Hempstead TOPSoccer in 2012 after finding interest in such a program during a one-day event in the fall of 2011. She had been approached by then club president Brendan Smith about finding a team for a special child to play on.
“My primary goal as Eastern New York’s TOPSoccer Chairperson is to expand our TOPSoccer Program throughout the state. Of the state’s 860 TOPSoccer players, 750 of the players live on Long Island. The Long Island Junior Soccer League has a wonderful group of coaches who run the programs and Ann Marie Toth is a tremendous LIJSL TOPSoccer Chairperson. We meet and share ideas, coordinate tournaments and other fun events for TOPSoccer players,” Lauren explained. “My second goal is to offer a TOPSoccer coaching course for existing programs and for clubs interested in starting a program.”
Lauren lives in West Hempstead and her “real job” is partner at Kerley Walsh Matera & Cinquemani, P.C., a litigation firm in Seaford. Her specialty is appellate practice, which makes sense for our new TOPSoccer Chairperson as it’s a distinct discipline providing a “last chance” to undo an unfavorable judgment or preserve a hard-fought victory.
Lauren continued, “TOPSoccer is a very special program that permits players of any ability to play soccer and be part of a team, being inclusive for all players. It also provides volunteer opportunities for middle school and high school students. The volunteers learn about being inclusive, dependable and are able to see that they have made an impact on someone’s life when the player smiles at the encouragement given and celebrates an accomplishment.”
Lauren’s own daughter, Jessica Lee, was honored as the 2020 National TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year by US Youth Soccer.
Lauren is hoping that her own West Hempstead TOPSoccer Program will host a visit from the local Fire Department to assist on the soccer field without their equipment and after the practice, put on their equipment for the players to see.
“This will serve two purposes. The fire fighters will gain a better understanding of a child with diverse abilities when they encounter one in a crisis situation. And it will provide our players with a positive interaction with the fire department in case they are ever in an emergency situation such as a car accident, medical emergency or fire.”
For more info about TOPSoccer or to inquire about kicking off a program in your area, please contact Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org