By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
August 23, 2021-The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) is very pleased to announce that longtime volunteer Ken Gulmi is being honored as a Life Member, our version of the Lifetime Achievement Award. The decision was made by a vote of our member leagues at the ENYYSA Annual General Meeting on August 7.
“I am humbled to be one of about a half-dozen people in Eastern New York history to be included on such a short list that includes such giants of youth soccer as Peter Masotto, Peter Collins and Howard Rubenstein,” Gulmi explained.
The Mahopac resident volunteered as East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL) President for an amazing 22 years from 1990 to 2012 and was on the Board of Directors of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) for over two decades from 1993 to 2018, starting as Registrar and moving to numerous Vice President positions. The EHYSL grew from a little over 4,000 players (80% boys) in three counties to nearly 19,000 players in seven counties (nearly 50/50 split between genders) during Gulmi's 22 years in charge.
Additionally, he was a certified referee and was quite a busy youth soccer coach, leading his teams to over 80 tournament titles, both indoors and outdoors. Gulmi started as an intramural coach in 1983, moved to travel teams in 1985 and coached until his retirement in 2016. He coached the Mahopac Hurricanes for 11 years, the Mahopac Indians and Mahopac Spirit girls for a combined five years as well as a Mahopac intramural team, the Golden Eagles, for six years. His coaching career ended with 17 years spent coaching three boys teams––the Mahopac Knights for seven years, the Somers Knights for one year and the Yorktown Knights for nine.
In 2016, when his Knights players had aged out of youth soccer, they moved on to compete in the Under-23 division of the Greater Hudson Valley Soccer League (GHVSL). Those players agreed on the name FC Knights and on two uniforms––one light blue, one in purple––with Gulmi’s face on the front of the jersey as a tribute to their longtime coach.
Additionally, Gulmi coached a Boys-Under-16 team in the East Hudson Academy in 2002 and 2003 as an unpaid volunteer when the chosen coach had to withdraw for health reasons.
Gulmi said his greatest accomplishments in youth soccer have been impacting so many kids as a coach, ref and administrator, growing soccer in the Hudson Valley, modernizing EHYSL operations from yellow pad and pencils to computers, instituting and championing local TOPSoccer plus serving 15 years on US Soccer’s Disability Committee from 2005 to 2020.
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 Association. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/