By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
January 16, 2013-Crystal Dunn and Cari Roccaro grew up playing in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) Olympic Development Program, each playing ODP for six years, and used ODP as a springboard to college scholarships and representing the USA internationally. The many trophies they both received as girls in youth soccer have now become collegiate and international accolades.
They won the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan with the USA’s 1-0 win over Germany last September. Crystal assisted on fellow North Carolina Tar Heel Kealia Ohai’s goal, the only goal in the final, in the 44th minute. Cari was the youngest starter for the USA.
The two Long Islanders also spent their formative years in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), the largest league in ENYYSA.
Crystal played for the Rockville Centre Power, Rockville Centre Tornadoes and Albertson Fury ‘91. In the past week, she has received the Soccer America Women’s College Player of the Year Award, the MAC Hermann Trophy (soccer’s version of the Heisman Trophy) and Soccer News Net Women’s College Boot, recognizing the National Player of the Year. Crystal is also the only player to receive Atlantic Coast Conference Defender of the Year honors twice.
The Rockville Centre resident’s Golden Goal gave the University of North Carolina a 2-1 win at BYU in the quarterfinals and set up Kealia Ohai for the Golden Goal that gave the Tar Heels a 1-0 victory over defending champion Stanford in the semifinals on the way to the NCAA championship.
"Crystal has a genuine love for the game and a true desire to be the very best," commented Tim Bradbury, ENYYSA’s Director of Coaching Instruction who coached her on the Power and Tornadoes. "She was the first to arrive at practice and the last to leave. Now when she comes home to Rockville Centre, she often plays against some of the boys teams I train."
"Crystal has really adapted her game to become a world-class defender," added Paul Riley, her coach with the Albertson Fury, "The assist in the Under-20 final sums her strengths: speed, great one-on-one ability and the poise to make the final ball count. She will play on the full women’s national team one day."
Cari competed for the LIJSL’s Albertson Fury ‘93, won the Women’s Premier Soccer League national championship with the Long Island Fury in 2009 and played for the New York Fury of WPSL Elite last summer. The East Islip resident was coached on all three teams by Riley.
"Cari might have been the youngest starter for the USA in the Under-20 World Cup but she proved her spot. Tough, tenacious, played against some top players and she was tremendous," said Coach Riley. "She has really worked hard at her game and her immense work rate and competitive style makes her a world class prospect."
"Coaching Cari over the last few years has been a privilege," added Riley. "Nobody puts more into her game and now she has her just rewards."
After her freshman season at Notre Dame, she was recently honored as the Soccer America Freshman of the Year, an award Crystal had won in 2010, and as the Big East Rookie of the Year.
Cari’s arrival in South Bend following the Under-20 Women’s World Cup, where Crystal was her roommate, coincided with a Notre Dame surge that resulted in the Irish sharing a Big East division title and advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals. Cari might have been a defender on the U.S. Under-20s but she played in attack for Notre Dame. She started all 16 matches she played in and ranked third on the team in goals (6), points (13), total shots (41) and shots on goal (21).
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.