By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
June 30, 2016-The Staten Island Youth Soccer League (SIYSL), the southernmost league in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), concluded its Spring Season on Sunday, June 12 by bringing back an old event with a new twist as the Friendship Games were played at the Owl Hollow Soccer Complex. The 140 players participating in the one-day event were boys and girls in the Under-9 and Under-10 age groups who were chosen to participate by their Directors or Coaches.
“This year, we made the decision that the Friendship Games would have small-sided games and play 4 v 4 with no keepers,” said event coordinator and SIYSL Vice President Mike Segreto. “Since US Soccer is urging more small-sided soccer matches to get players more touches and a better feel for the game, we decided that an event like this was the best way to introduce the concept to our recreational soccer players.”
The day was broken up into four sessions with the Boys-Under-9 age group starting off at 10:00 am, followed by Girls-Under-9 at noon, Girls-Under-10 at 1:30 pm and Boys-Under-10 at 3:00 pm. Each team played three 15-minute matches on four 20 x 40 yard mini-fields.
“The Friendship Games are another example how we try to give back and provide different experiences to the players in our league,” offered SIYSL President Bill Smith. “We want to continue to introduce small-sided play to our players as well as encourage them to make new friends through soccer. The goal was also to make sure that no club teammates played on the same team and they experience a different coach as well.”
The event was played at no cost for the participants and everyone received a Friendship Games T-shirt, in the color of their uniform for the day, and was awarded medals. The Friendship Games T-shirts and medals depicted a handshake, symbolizing the theme of the event.
Thanks also go to committee members Ernest Murdukhayev and Maureen Motley, Lifestyles for the Disabled that screens and packs the T-shirts, plus volunteer photographer Rich Julian.
Lots in store for the SIYSL this summer as the Summer High School League is entering its third season with 226 boys and 187 girls participating on 21 teams. You can also catch the SIYSL at Midland Beach on July 9 and 10, having fun in its inaugural Sand Soccer Tournament hosted jointly by the SIYSL, New York City Parks and the NYPD Crime Stoppers program.
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 teenagersbetween 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 turnedaway. 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.