By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
February 7, 2023-When the New England Revolution came to Long Island to take on the New York Red Bulls in an amputee soccer match on February 4, they brought the harsh New England winter with them as temps were well below freezing. Luckily, the 7 vs. 7 match was indoors at Sportime in Kings Park.
The six field players have two arms and one leg. The goalkeeper has one arm and two legs. A team’s better chance of scoring is on the side of the keeper that does not have an arm.
“But the keeper is aware of this and compensating for that,” commented US National Amputee Team coach Dr. Eric Lamberg, who also coaches the Boys-Under-19 Hauppauge USA that plays in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) and is currently wintering in the Long Island Futsal League (LIFL).
Dr. Lamberg added, “The players here today from New York and New England are excited to have people come and support them.”
The Red Bulls’ halftime team talk
New England won the game, 2-1, in a very sporting match between two teams affiliated with their MLS namesakes.
After the match, New England and US National Amputee Team captain Nico Calabria said to the crowd, “All the people here is a dream come true. I have players coming two hours to practice and sleeping on my couch just so we can play soccer as a team.”
Our national team played in the Amputee World Cup in Turkey last year and is currently ranked #15 in the world.
Carlos Ayala of the New York Red Bulls and US National Amputee Team dribbling the ball upfield.
New York’s 29-year-old captain, Jovan Booker, grew up in Cutchogue playing for the LIJSL’s Mattituck Roadrunners and now coaches youth soccer with North Fork United. He played in the LIJSL with a prosthesis on his right leg after it was amputated because of a birth defect. Jovan also currently plays with the US National Amputee Team.
He stated, “Four years ago, we started by playing Regional teams and now we have all this support.”
Alexia Michitti is one of the two New York goalkeepers and she lives just across the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) border in New York West, playing for BC United of Binghamton as a kid and one season as a forward for Ithaca College. She is known for her freestyle skills juggling a soccer ball. Alexia commutes to play soccer from Vestal, a 460-mile round trip journey. But she is topped by the Red Bulls’ other goalkeeper, Thomas Reff, whose round trip from the Syracuse area is an amazing 600 miles.
Outside of soccer, some players wear a prosthesis, others choose not to and some are physically not able to do so. For more info about “the fastest game on one leg," please log on to https://www.usampsoccer.org
Players with their young fans after the game
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 10 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. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/