By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
September 14, 2021-The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) is very pleased to announce that the Huntington Boys Club (HBC) is being honored as our Club of the Month for September. Despite its name, girls have been a large part of the success of HBC soccer for decades. Those who have worn HBC’s green and have gone on to the professional ranks include Shannon MacMillan, Maria Yatrakis, Edson Buddle, Dan Calichman, Kyle Martino plus Sue Bird of basketball fame.
Currently, 1,500 players––60% boys and 40% girls––are registered to play soccer for HBC. Bill Rudy has been Club President since 2005 and is just the fifth President of the club since it was founded six decades ago.
Special Children playing soccer in an organized league actually started in Eastern New York back in 1978 when HBC and the Massapequa Soccer Club separately kicked off programs in an era when Special Children playing sports is not as accepted as it is today. The HBC program was started by Mike Ludin so that his son Craig had the same opportunity to play soccer as his brothers Bryan and Evan did. Craig Ludin, who has been playing for HBC since he was a young boy, has received so many medals in the Special Olympics that he was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame a decade ago. His teammate John Cronin started a very successful local business, John’s Crazy Socks, with his father Mark.
His father explained, “John has learned many of the same lessons that his two brothers and others have learned through sports. When John started playing soccer, he could barely kick the ball. Over the years, he has improved as an athlete and as a soccer player, developing skills and understanding the game. He has learned teamwork, discipline, sportsmanship, competition and the value of having long-term goals. He would not have the confidence to start his own business or make the appearances that he does without this experience.”
Since March 2006, the HBC Soccer Park has been home to the club. Its 11 soccer fields––four full-size (120 x 72 yards), four mid-size (80 x 50) and three developmental (60 x 40)––and even two bocce courts are a centerpiece for recreation in the Town of Huntington. The club is so large that HBC also utilizes Breezy Park, Caledonia Park, Peter Nelson Park and Whitman Park for practices and games.
The HBC Soccer Park is usually the heart of the Peter Renzulli Labor Day Tournament, hosted by HBC for over four decades and named after the US Soccer Hall of Fame goalkeeper. The tournament took a hiatus in 1989 as well as last year and this year with the hope that it will return with its usual 250 teams in 2022.
Finally, HBC distributes an amazing 17 college scholarships every year. Two scholarships through Walt Whitman High School, four through Half Hollow Hills High Schools, one through the Long Island Junior Soccer League (the Joe Lombardo Memorial Scholarship) and 10 through the club itself.
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 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. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/