By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
June 17, 2016-Thousands have watched this series of videos presented by the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), in response to the increased pressure on parents and players regarding college scholarships. This week’s interview is with Pat LaManna, the longtime club president of the Smithtown Kickers Soccer Club of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL). Pat played for former LIJSL president and US Soccer Hall of Famer Peter Collins on the Hicksville Minutemen, which made the McGuire Cup Boys-Under-19 national finals. He then was a full scholarship player at Adelphi University, playing for coach Bob Montgomery.
The video is linked here:
“The volunteer used to be the backbone of the team when I played, but over the past five or six years, it has become a trainer-based environment,” LaManna explains. “The level of the volunteer was not experienced enough to take players to the next level nowadays. With the trainers, it’s a much more costly endeavor for the players.“
LaManna states that college scholarships go to only the top half of one percent of youth soccer players and he uses a great team such as Smithtown Arsenal, Boys-Under-16 national champions in 2013, as an example.
“With Arsenal, their top players got full scholarships while other players on the team received partial scholarships,“ LaManna said. “Sports give youth players a great ability to get into the college of their choice, whether they are receiving a scholarship or not.“
LaManna concludes by stating that “they could be superstars at ages 10 or 11, but 13 or 14 is when they start to understand how good they want to be. If they truly want to be that good, it’s a rarity and it’s a matter of how much they play the game or want to watch it. Too many times, I hear that because they are paying a trainer twice a week, they are going to turn into the highest level of player. Not happening as they need three or four hours a week watching the game and playing on their own (in addition to their team’s training).“
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 Children With Special Needs. 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.