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News - Details

Refs Donate Time as Nearly $18,000 Raised From the Shamrock Shootout


Referees and mentors during the Shamrock Shootout

By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association

March 15, 2019-50 teams made up of both boys and girls squads from the East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL) had fun in the 5th Annual Shamrock Shootout on the weekend of March 2 and 3 at The Net at Gold’s Gym in LaGrange. In all, nearly $18,000 was raised for non-profit organization Kickin’ Back to help in its mission to maximize the vast potential of adolescents in underserved communities throughout the world. Kieran McIlvenny and his wife Donna founded Kickin’ Back, as well as the Shamrock Shootout to help fund their non-profit organization.

This indoor tournament is Kickin’ Back’s largest fundraiser every year and it has raised nearly $120,000 since its inception. After every match, each team chose a player from the opposing team who showed exceptional sportsmanship and that player received a small soccer ball with the Kickin’ Back logo on it.

“We've recently built a school library in Namibia. We have two big projects this year, a school library and dining hall in the Otjozindjupa region of Namibia and a soccer pitch and education center in Chituka, Malawi,” Kieran explained, “Special thanks to all those who volunteer at the tournament and to Gold’s Gym for kindly donating the fields for the tournament.”

Irreplaceable in making the Shamrock Shootout a success were the referees and mentors from the Hudson Valley Soccer Referee Association (HVSRA) who donated their time.

“Our primary mission at the Hudson Valley Soccer Referee Association is to educate and promote our members to become better soccer officials. With our new Board of Directors installed last year, it was imperative to launch a robust mentorship program to grow, maintain and retain membership,” explained HVSRA President Brian Baer. “With 123 new referees since September 2018 and the great majority of them being teenagers, many did not have the chance to officiate a match. In previous editions of the Shamrock Shootout, our members donated their time to officiate and our long-standing partnership with Kickin’ Back created a superb environment to teach our newest officials the fine craft of soccer refereeing.“

So 22 new referees, supported by 12 mentors, officiated 86 matches over the course of the tournament. 

“While most of the officials were anxious before their first match, their abilities progressed exponentially during their 3- to 4-hour shift,“ concluded President Baer. “The new officials found the experience rewarding and supportive in a competitive yet non-resulted oriented environment. HVSRA will gladly be back at the Shamrock Shootout again next year to give back.“

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 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 onto, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.