By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
January 24, 2017-With outdoor fields being unplayable during New York's winter due to snow and ice, soccer players go indoors, not to hibernate, but to play indoor soccer. Consequently, indoor soccer has a long history in the Empire State.
In 1939 and ’40, the American Soccer League (ASL) staged indoor games at Madison Square Garden. A lack of fan interest, coupled with the United States’ entry into World War II, ended the series. In 1958, the ASL tried again, staging an all-day tournament at Madison Square Garden. Playing on the hard soil left behind by a Roy Rogers horse show, the league used the dasher boards from New York Rangers games and the all-day tournament attracted over 14,000 people. Unfortunately, the ASL was having problems on the outdoor side so, despite the large indoor crowd, the ASL did not continue playing at the world’s most famous arena.
The Cosmopolitan Soccer League (CSL) has a lengthy history hosting an indoor tournament and its venues have included the Manhattan Armory, the Westchester County Center and for the past decade at facilities in northern New Jersey.
In 1968, Oceanside United started its indoor tournament, which remains the oldest youth indoor soccer tourney in the United States. Rudy Lamonica scored in the tournament during the winters of ’68 and ’69. After his passing from bone cancer in 1970, the event was named after him and the 50th Annual Rudy Lamonica Indoor Tournament, a Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) event, was played on January 21 and 22.
But it’s not the only New York indoor tourney celebrating a milestone this winter. Oceanside’s tourney might be the oldest of its kind but the oldest youth soccer league in the United States is the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL), founded in 1933, and it's hosting the 40th Annual Herbert Heilpern Indoor Tournament on two turf fields at Go! Tennis in Bayside, Queens. This is the first winter playing at Go! Tennis after previously utilizing both City College and Chelsea Piers.
Boys-Under-13 action between Islas Malvinas in light blue and Cedar Stars in lime green and white at the 40th Annual Herbert Heilpern Indoor Tournament
Heilpern, the tournament’s namesake and an Eastern New York and US Soccer Hall of Famer, played local amateur soccer here in New York, was CSL President from 1970 to ’73 and a prime mover in that league’s association with both the North American Soccer League and the New York Cosmos. He also served as soccer coordinator for the City of New York, helping to develop badly-needed soccer facilities in the city, and was heavily involved as a volunteer with both the CJSL and Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA).
On Martin Luther King Day, January 16, the Herbert Heilpern Indoor Tournament kicked off its 40th edition with boys teams playing and the fun will continue on February 18 and 19 plus March 18.
“The tournament went well on Martin Luther King Day,“ said tourney director Emil Cohill. “The facility is very nice, everybody showed up on time and everything went very smoothly.“
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 onto http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.