Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League photo of Under-7 players shaking hands after a game
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
April 5, 2016-With the National Hockey League starting its Stanley Cup Playoffs, much will be made of the sportsmanship handshakes that occur among all the players at the conclusion of each of the 15 playoff series. That’s approximately 6,000 handshakes between NHL players this spring.
But if the media is reporting about that, shouldn’t they also report about the fact that sportsmanship handshakes take place at the conclusion of every soccer game played in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA)? There will be 50,000 games played in Eastern New York this spring, from pee-wees to Under-19, from the East End of Long Island to the Canadian border. You may not hear much about using hands in soccer, but at the end of every game, players, coaches and referees line up and shake hands. In case you are counting, that’s nearly 10 million handshakes that are taking place this spring in Eastern New York. And when you add in all the games that are played in our leagues and tournaments during the summer, fall and winter, that’s approximately 25 million handshakes at the conclusion of games every year.
Those 25 million handshakes are a very impressive figure although it pales in comparison to the 225 million burgers worldwide that McDonald’s will sell this year and even the 93 million gallons of milk that Starbucks uses annually.
Nevertheless, is it any wonder that the person most associated with sportsmanship in American soccer, Rocco Amoroso, comes from Eastern New York? Now a US Soccer Life Member, Rocco was concerned back in 1980 by what he believed was a lack of respect in the games of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), the largest league in Eastern New York. So the LIJSL Sportsmanship Program was born and greatly improved the discipline on soccer fields. The program spread locally, then nationally and internationally, under Rocco’s guidance and spirit.
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 tohttp://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.