Top row, from left to right: Assistant Coach Graham Radcliffe, Tyler McElhinney, Alessandro Sambone, Niall Coffey, Michael Harten, Blake Aronson, Jaime Schubauer, Marc DePasquale, Mathew Sloan.
Middle row, from left to right: Marcello Mastronardi, Ahmed El Sammak, Lenny Lopez, Nigel Hawthorne, Mariopio DiPasquale, Bryan Jimenez, Samuel Steinberg, Nick Acquafredda, Pablo Napoli Borrero, Eli Eshaghpour
Bottom row: Coach Ralph Pascarella
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
March 4, 2016-The phrase that “Defense wins championships,” could not be truer for the 1999 Boys South ODP Team from the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), who have returned home to New York as national champions. Eastern New York played two scoreless ties and won the shootout of both games at the Olympic Development Program (ODP) Nationals in Phoenix from February 26 to 28. They did it even with having a player sent off early in the second half both games so they played most of the second half and all of 30 minutes of overtime down a player.
A big hero of ODP Nationals was Eastern New York goalkeeper Tyler McElhinney of Jericho, who had a shutout during 240 minutes of play, saved three penalty kicks in the shootout and scored on both his shootout attempts. Pablo Napoli Borrero from Brooklyn scored the fifth and final penalty kick of each shootout to give Eastern New York the wins.
“This was the best group of kids I have ever coached in three decades of coaching,” commented Ralph Pascarella, head coach of 1999 Boys South ODP. “All 18 guys bought into team first and everybody played a role and contributed, through two overtime games and two shootouts. Blake Aronson and Matt Sloan were great leaders on the field and Tyler McElhinney would have gotten MVP if the Final Four had that award.”
In the semifinal against North Carolina, even though Eastern New York was down a player for much of the game, they had the better of play and advanced from the shootout, 5-4. In the championship game against Minnesota, Eastern New York had the disadvantage of playing two overtime games in 36 hours, was also down a player for most of the game, yet they won the shootout, 4-3, after another scoreless tie.
Eastern New York’s 2000 Girls South ODP Team had problems getting acclimated to the Arizona heat during the semifinal and lost, 5-0, to Cal South, the eventual champion. But our girls did much better in the third place game, shutting out Illinois, 2-0, with Maya Scholnick of Manhattan and Sarah Tappeto from Merrick scoring the goals.
“Both of our teams represented Eastern New York extremely well with a very high quality of play and great sportsmanship,” commented ODP Chairperson Jim Volpe.
ODP is considered the highest level of competition in the state. Each year, players must be re-evaluated by the ODP professional staff of coaches for a position on each age-specific team. The identification process ends each summer with the most elite players within Region 1 competing for a position on the regional team. Players are then identified by United States Soccer Federation (USSF) staff coaches for possible entry to the national teams program. Yet even those players who do not make the Region 1 or the national teams often use ODP as a springboard to college scholarships and even on to professional soccer.
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 tohttp://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.