By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
November 14, 2018-As Long Island soccer fans know, the longtime slogan of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) is “Building Character Through Soccer.” The slogan comes from the LIJSL Sportsmanship Program, which was created nearly four decades ago by now US Soccer Life Member Rocco Amoroso. In 1980, Rocco was concerned about the lack of civility that he witnessed on youth soccer fields so he started this program in which each match referee grades LIJSL teams about the cooperation of players, coaches and spectators, overall game conduct and player appearance at the conclusion of every LIJSL game. The teams receiving the most sportsmanship points in each division are honored by the league and given Sportsmanship patches, that they proudly wear on their shirt sleeves.
This Sportsmanship Program is so ingrained in the culture of the LIJSL that many teams want to win Sportsmanship as much as their division title and is one reason for the longevity of many LIJSL refs.
One Sportsmanship-winning team is the Huntington Boys Club (HBC) Rovers and it’s easy to see why by their actions last Sunday, November 11. Their opponents, the Elwood LI Sound, arrived at the HBC Soccer Park in Melville with only nine players for the Boys-Under-13 Division 6 East game. HBC had 14 players.
Rather than play 11 vs. 9, HBC coaches Mike Martin, Sue Stewart, Julie Thayer
and Dave Bobker did the very sporting thing and only fielded nine players, leaving five players on the bench that they rotated in as substitutes.
Playing 9 vs. 9 on a large field, there were several breakaways but keepers Noah Tognon (played first half) and Danny Anderson (second half) from HBC and Jake Amend (entire game) of Elwood were outstanding, making numerous saves. 11 vs. 9 could have been a mismatch but 9 vs. 9, it was a very competitive match. Many thanks to the HBC team who gave everybody a life lesson in fair play.
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 nine 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.