By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
January 5, 2018-The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen is best known as the first person to reach the South Pole, in 1911. But his initial fame came in 1906, when he and his crew became the first to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Northwest Passage, a goal that had eluded explorers for centuries. This feat was accomplished in a 70 ft. square-sterned sloop named Gjøa, so there’s a town in northern Canada on the Arctic Ocean named Gjoa Haven.
Five years later, in 1911, New York members of the Norwegian Seamens Association organized an athletic club and, inspired by the spirit of that hardy band of explorers, the new club also adopted the name of the ship. Initially, Sporting Club Gjøa only participated in whale fishing and tug of war but the soccer part of the club kicked off play 100 years ago in 1918.
To celebrate this centennial, the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL) club is planning a two-week trip to Norway to honor its Scandinavian roots this upcoming summer.
The first week, Gjøa teams will play in the world’s largest youth soccer tournament, the Norway Cup, in the Norwegian capital of Oslo from July 28 to August 5 and the following week, August 5 to 11, will be spent playing near Oslo. Gjøa teams will practice and play against local teams, explore the city and learn more about Norwegian culture.
Gjøa’s philosophy has always been to provide soccer training to as many children as possible, regardless of their family’s financial status. Currently, over 400 players, both boys and girls, are registered in the Brooklyn club, which is New York’s oldest youth soccer club. Soccer and darts are the only sports Gjøa competes in nowadays as whale fishing and tug of war were both dropped nearly a half-century ago after having champion teams for many years in both.
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 onto http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.