By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
August 29, 2018-The Exceptional Senior Games, organized by the Capital District Youth Soccer League (CDYSL), have become a Veteran’s Day tradition Upstate.
The CDYSL’s original plans last November were to host this big event once again at DiCaprio Park, the home field for the Guilderland United Soccer Club. However, the weather forecast had a low of 21 degrees and a high of 45 for the day with the wind chill factor being much lower.
Two days before the event, the CDYSL made the decision to notify all of the high school coaches, high school players and college coaches that the Exceptional Senior Games were being moved indoors to Afrim's Sports Dome in Latham. Afrim Nezaj was kind enough to clear his facility schedule to accommodate the event.
The schedule for the games were realigned in order to accommodate the four fields outdoors needed into one field by stretching the games earlier and later in the day.
The last set of girls games were being played when into the facility walked Tatiana Karmazyn, bundled up and very cold. The volunteers let her know the last game was being played and the players were on the field.
Tatiana explained that she was supposed to have had a ride from her Mom but her mother was called into work at the last minute, so she took two buses from her home in Troy and walked over a mile in frigid weather in darkness from the bus stop to arrive at Afrim’s Sports Dome. The entire trip took her four hours. CDYSL President Tim Owens and the rest of the volunteers gave her the participation shirt and walked her out to the fields to see if she could play the remaining 15-20 minutes left in the game.
The high school coaches were able to get Tatiana on the field. At the end of the match, Tatiana was visibly upset as she didn't believe that she was able to perform to her best of her ability since she was struggling to get the feeling back in her hands and feet as they were still very cold.
The CDYSL was able to warm up Tatiana with popcorn chicken and hot chocolate, per her request. As they were doing so, Tatiana told the volunteers of her dream of being able to go to college to further her education and play soccer. A volunteer drove Tatiana home at the end of the event so she wouldn't have to stand out in the cold to catch two more buses back home.
CDYSL kept in touch with Tatiana over the season and found her a club to play with in the winter and spring, the Lansingburgh Soccer Club, to further her skills and helped guide her through the courses of SAT's and other items to apply to colleges. Lansingburgh coach Stacy Ward worked with the CDYSL staff to ensure that Tatiana was able to make the practices and games with her new team.
This story has a very happy ending as Tatiana accepted an offer from Tompkins Cortland Community College coach Robert Rice to study and play soccer at his junior college starting this fall. He had originally seen Tatiana play in the Exceptional Senior Games last November.
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 on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.