By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
October 11, 2016-Pretty in pink is not normally how you would describe football players but the NFL, through its October “Crucial Catch“ campaign, has its players wear pink in their uniforms. The league works with the American Cancer Society every October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to promote the importance of regular breast cancer screenings for women.
Throughout this month in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), our players, both boys and girls, wear pink in their uniforms as well. In Eastern New York’s largest league, the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), the players are encouraged to wear pink and play with pink soccer balls in October.
Eastern New York is honoring longtime LIJSL volunteer Carlos Ospina as our Personality of the Month for October because of his lengthy work with breast cancer support.
Carlos was born in Colombia and his family emigrated to Manhattan when he was 10 years old.
”Immediately, soccer was a way to make friends here,” he stated, so he played with the Manhattan Kickers of the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL) and for St. Francis Xavier High School in Manhattan.
After he joined Esteé Lauder’s Melville office 20 years ago, where he is the Director of Manufacturing Engineering, he became involved with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, founded by Evelyn Lauder. In 2002, he started the Pink Ribbon Soccer Festival. Originally, the festival featured adult coed teams from Esteé Lauder’s offices in New York and Pennsylvania playing on the third Sunday in August at the Peter Collins Soccer Park in Plainview but LIJSL girls teams have joined all the fun during the past several years. Under Carlos’ enthusiastic leadership, the Pink Ribbon Soccer Festival has raised $30,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
”We started when a co-worker, Rich Sommers, who was coaching his daughters in the Hicksville Americans Soccer Club, and I proposed to Esteé Lauder a new way to raise money and awareness for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation,” Carlos explained. ”Our company is always looking for ways to get employees involved. Rich and I met with Mike Clarke at the Peter Collins Soccer Park and together we made it happen. Each year, the response from the LIJSL, the coaches and parents has been incredible. This could not have been possible without the help of Mike, his staff, the LIJSL and the Long Island Soccer Referees Association, whose refs have been volunteering with us for years.”
In acknowledgement of Estée Lauder’s slogan of “Everything Counts,” the Lynbrook resident plus seven other employees noted for their charity work rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange on October 1, 2015.
But Carlos is much more than a player with Esteé Lauder and the director of the Pink Ribbon Soccer Festival as he is a longtime coach in the LIJSL’s Lynbrook/East Rockaway Soccer Club whose teams keep on winning the LIJSL Sportsmanship Award. Along with Richard Ford, Carlos coached the Lynbrook/East Rockaway Lizards (with his daughter Natalie on the team), taking them from an intramural team in 2003 to a LIJSL travel team until the girls graduated from high school this past June. The Lizards won the LIJSL Sportsmanship Award four times, were division champions several times, won the Oceanside Bob Schrager Memorial Tournament plus were Long Island Cup champs in 2015.
Mr. October has been coaching the Lynbrook/East Rockaway Landsharks since 2010 with son Sebastian on the team and they are currently competing in LIJSL Boys-Under-17, Division 1. The Landsharks are following in the Lizards’ footsteps as they too have won the LIJSL Sportsmanship Award under Carlos’ calm guidance.
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.