By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
April 19, 2016-Lenny Buccellato did not play the world’s most popular sport while growing up in Brooklyn but he has been irreplaceable in youth soccer on the other side of the Verrazano Bridge during the past two decades.
His father, Giovanni, was born in Castellammare del Golfo in Sicily and they used to watch Serie A soccer together on TV every Sunday. He also took Lenny to watch games at Dyker Park in Brooklyn.
Lenny wound up playing soccer for fun when he spent his summers in Italy. Like many American adults, he became involved through his kids. So when his older daughter, Marissa, started playing soccer in 1997, Lenny became a coach.
It was a quick trip up the ladder of Staten Island soccer as Lenny volunteered as Vice President of the Richmondtown Soccer Club in the Staten Island Youth Soccer League (SIYSL) at a time when another Oakwood resident, current SIYSL President Bill Smith, was President of Richmondtown.
"When Lenny and I worked together at Richmondtown, we built a program that was all about the children and we always made sure that they were learning the game,” commented SIYSL President Smith. "Lenny would go all out on the club’s annual picnic, sending letters to receive items from MLS, MLB, NFL and the WWE. The kids couldn't wait for the raffles each year. His work behind the scenes would make me look good as President of the club. We were both talked into moving up and taking on more responsibility by Charles Giordano."
Lenny served as Secretary of Staten Island United in 2000. In the 15 years that he was Staten Island United’s President from 2001 to 2015, the club grew from 18 to 43 teams in becoming Staten Island’s largest travel team program, numerous graduates moved on to play college soccer and the Gunners became the first Staten Island United team to win the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) State Open Cup, in 2012. Seven Staten Island United teams—four boys squads and three girls teams––currently play in the Eastern New York Premier League (ENYPL).
Lenny, whose “real job” is Vice President for Deutsche Bank Agency Securities Lending Division, has been a coach, assistant coach and manager for many travel teams through the years plus has served as a referee for the past 13 years. Besides Marissa, now 23, his other child, Kristina, 21, also played for Staten Island United.
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 to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.