Who We Are
Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) is a 501c(3) public benefit corporation and is the official youth soccer association of the United States Soccer Federation and the United States Youth Soccer. ENYYSA is nearing 100,000 members and more than 25,000 volunteers. Members are affiliated with 10 leagues throughout the association, which covers: Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Bronx, Long Island, Westchester, and upstate New York east of Route 81. While ENYYSA member leagues administer their local programs, the leagues also take advantage of the assistance provided by ENYYSA to develop and educate their coaches and players; provide insurance coverage for their participants; and administrative assistance.
ENYYSA is responsible for several programs. The association annually conducts State Cup competitions to decide the state champion teams in each competitive soccer age group. Starting at Under 12, the winners of the “Open” cup competition tournament go on to compete at the Regional competition and, starting at U14, eventually to the US Youth Soccer National Championships. ENYYSA also administers the state association’s Olympic Development Program. This system allows potential U.S. National Team members and Olympic hopefuls to be identified and developed to their fullest potential. Additionally, ENYYSA has shown a strong commitment to coaching, player, and referee development by offering several coaching, player, and referee clinics throughout the year.
The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for the youth of Eastern New York between the ages of 5 and 19-years-old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered for the recreational player who is out to enjoy the game and “just have fun”; the club or travel team player who enjoys the spirit of competition and the premier player who is looking to play at the highest levels.
Eastern New York Soccer History
Our adult association was founded in 1913, the same year as the United States Soccer Federation. The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association is also an oldie but goodie.
What many Americans do not realize, including the millions who play soccer, is that the sport has a long and proud history.
The Southern New York State Senior Soccer Association, now the Eastern New York State Adult Soccer Association, was founded in 1913, the same year that the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) was founded.
At the inaugural World Cup in Uruguay, in 1930, the United States finished in third place. That remains the United States’ best finish ever on the men’s side although our women have lifted the Women’s World Cup trophy in 1991, 1999, 2015, and 2019.
The German-American Junior Soccer League, now the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL), was founded in New York City in 1933. It’s the oldest and most historic youth soccer league in the United States. The original purpose of the league was for graduates to become players in the adult league, now known as the Cosmopolitan Soccer League. Currently, 231 teams make up the CJSL, of which 221 are boy’s teams.
In 1966, the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) was founded and with 1,490 travel teams today, it is one of the world’s largest soccer leagues, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The first steps to create the LIJSL were taken by Jack Maher of the Deer Park Celtics. Maher wrote to Pat Ryder, then President of the Long Island Soccer Football League, requesting the formation of a youth league to support the adult league, similar to what had occurred in New York City three decades before. Ryder had the foresight to see the benefit of a self-organized youth program and appointed Maher as the first Junior Commissioner.
With youth soccer starting to grow exponentially, George Donnelly and Enzo Magnozzi founded the Southern New York Youth Soccer Association in 1972 and Tony Perez became the first President.
In 1974, the West-Put Youth Soccer League, serving Westchester and Putnam Counties, was created and joined Southern New York. Now known as the Hudson Valley Youth Soccer League (HVYSL), it continues to serve soccer clubs in Westchester and Putnam but now also has clubs in Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, and Sullivan counties plus Pennsylvania. Currently, it has 386 registered teams–243 boys squads and 143 girls teams.
The Westchester Youth Soccer League (WYSL) was founded in 1975 by the following clubs: Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Pelham, Scarsdale, and White Plains. Richard Hellman became the first WYSL President.
Steve LaRosa became President of the Southern New York Youth in 1976.
1978 was a very important year. Ivor Foster was elected President, the Capital District Youth Soccer League (CDYSL), Staten Island Youth Soccer League (SIYSL) and our Children With Special Needs Program kicked off.
The CDYSL was founded in Colonie that year by Peter Clinton, Charles Guinn, Cesar Maniccia, James Sinkins, and others. Sal Davila, Joe Licata, and Sal Parello founded the SIYSL.
Children With Special Needs playing in an organized league started in Southern New York when two LIJSL clubs, the Huntington Boys Club (HBC) and Massapequa Soccer Club, separately began programs in an era when these kids were playing sports not as accepted as it is today. Craig Ludin, who has Down Syndrome and has been playing for HBC since he was a young boy, has so many medals from the Special Olympics that he has been inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Two years later in 1980, the same year that Howard Rubenstein was elected President of Southern New York, Rocco Amoroso started the LIJSL Sportsmanship Program as he was concerned about a lack of discipline and respect on soccer fields. The program spread locally, then nationally, and internationally.
As new leagues were created both the senior and youth associations started admitting clubs north of Albany so “Southern New York” was no longer appropriate. Since our geographic area now encompassed clubs from Long Island to the Canadian border east of Route 81, which connects Binghamton and Syracuse, in 1984, Rubenstein and the incoming President, Peter Masotto, changed the name from the Southern New York Youth Soccer Association to our present name of Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA). Rubenstein and Costas Mallios made the same name change from Southern New York to Eastern New York with the adults in 1988.
In 1997, the Mid State New York Soccer League was formed and started playing in ENYYSA. Previously, its teams played in the New York West State Association. Today teams play in Mid State, coming from a vast geographical region of Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, Herkimer, Oneida, and Madison counties.
Also in 1997, Luis Montoya founded the Big Apple Youth Soccer League (BAYSL) to serve the growing Latino community in New York City. Teams from Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx currently play in the league.
Two years later, the Metrokids Youth Soccer League (MYSL) was founded, also to serve the growing Latino community in New York City and serve as the foundation of this urban league.
The Central New York State Soccer League (CNYSSL) was founded in 2001. Currently, teams from Oneida, Madison, and Herkimer counties play in the league.
Masotto served as the ENYYSA President for more than two decades, from 1984 to 2006. Then Barry Salter served as President from 2006 to 2010 and was succeeded by Richard Christiano, Eastern New York’s President today.
As you can see, the 10-member leagues of Eastern New York are as diverse as the soccer families we serve.
Eastern New York alumni represented the United States in both the World Cup and the Olympics, among them Benny Feilhaber, Crystal Dunn, Shannon MacMillan, Sara Whalen, and Michael Windischmann. Alumni Edson Buddle, Allie Long, and Tony Meola played for the US in the World Cup. While many other alumni have been capped by the United States, they never had the opportunity to showcase their talents in such competitions. As people born in every country in the world now call New York State their home, some of our alumni are eligible to play for another country besides the US and have done exactly that.