By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
February 11, 2021-The first way that youth soccer changed because of Covid-19 is the 2020 Spring Season was canceled. This was the first time in the five-decade history of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) that a season was canceled. Many of our friends died from Covid-19 including former ENYYSA President Steve LaRosa plus longtime referee assignors Nick Apostolides and Ron Clark last spring.
Soccer returned last summer with coaches, substitutes and some refs wearing masks. The opposing teams were on opposite sides of the field with post-game handshakes being discontinued although many teams walked toward their opponents after the game and applauded them instead.
Very little indoor soccer this winter because of concern regarding indoor transmission of the virus. The two sanctioned tournaments being played are at Coleman Day Camp in Merrick as it has invested in state-of-the-art ultraviolet air cleaners supported by HEPA filters that purifies the air in each of their buildings several times an hour.
Photo of the recent Rudy Lamonica Indoor Tournament. Indoor soccer without spectators, as games were live-streamed for interested fans, and refs wearing masks are some changes this winter because of the pandemic.
One day, hopefully soon, the virus will be under control so mask-wearing will no longer be required. But some changes are probably here to stay.
Before the pandemic, our coach licensing and referee certification classes had added online learning and the online component has been expedited during the past year.
Meetings for clubs, leagues and referee associations are now being held over Zoom instead of in-person. Saving time and money plus being beneficial to the environment because of less travel, many groups will continue to host meetings over Zoom with some opting for in-person meetings on occasion after the pandemic is over as the personal touch remains important.
Eastern New York held two meetings each year, in February and August, at a central location, the DoubleTree Hilton in Nanuet. Our last meeting there was on Leap Day––February 29, 2020––and then things got really weird with the pandemic causing all of us to change our lives a couple of weeks after that.
While the number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths all remain way too high, these figures are down significantly since the start of 2021 and more people are being vaccinated. The volunteers of Eastern New York, like the rest of society, look forward to the day when we move on to a New and Better Normal.
With approximately 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. For more information, please log on to https://www.enysoccer.com/