By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
July 19, 2016-The Staten Island Youth Soccer League (SIYSL), along with partners NYC Parks and the NYPD Crime Stoppers Unit, teamed up to host the SIYSL’s first youth sand soccer tournament on the weekend of July 9 and 10 at the Ocean Breeze Complex, a short kick from the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. The inaugural Back to the Beach Soccer Classic brought together teams from local community centers plus recreational teams from the SIYSL and travel clubs from Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens that are part of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA).
“During our April Directors meeting, we were discussing all the different activities we wanted to host this year,” said SIYSL Vice President and Tournament Director Rich Nellis. “I happened to say that we really wanted to try to host a beach tournament on the sand and that generated quite a buzz in the room.”
“Here at NYC Parks, we had beendiscussing different types of programs to offer the community during the summer here at the Ocean Breeze Complex,” offered Thomas Frasca, the Ocean Breeze Park Track and Field Coordinator. “I grew up playing soccer and we discussed internally the idea of a beach tournament. Ironically, within the hour we decided to give it a shot, the Staten Island Youth Soccer League applied for a beach permit to run a tournament. We got on the phone to set up a meeting and off we went.”
The tournament was a free event for all participating teams as the SIYSL, NYC Parks and NYPD Crime Stoppers provided the necessary underwriting. Nearly 50 teams participated over the two-day event. The tournament was played on 20 X 40 sand fields with the competition being 4 v 4 with no goalkeepers.
“As US Soccer continues to stress youth development through small-sided play, the 4 v 4 format provided a perfect vehicle to follow through with this new initiative,” stated SIYSL President Bill Smith. “It really turned out to be a great event, and we want to thank NYC Parks, Crime Stoppers and of course our league’s member clubs for making it so successful.”
NYPD Detective and Holy Child Soccer Director Tom Delacy added, “As part of NYPD’s community outreach, we provide training and tournament opportunities to kids from all over the city. We were able to use that community outreach to draw interest from teams outside of Staten Island. Hopefully, this is a little taste of the bigger and better opportunities to come.”
In the Girls-Under-8 and 9 Division final, the Our Lady Star of the Sea Cougars shut out Petrides, 4-0. The Girls-Under-12 to 14 final featured two Under-12 teams as the St. Charles Avalanche topped the St. Joseph/St. Thomas Lady Stars in a shootout. In the Boys-Under-8 and 9 final, Chelsea Queens defeated Silver Lake Academy, 2-1. The Chelsea club also won the Boys-Under-10 and 11 Division when they defeated the Brooklyn Fire in the final. And the Staten Island Cedar Stars won the Boys-Under-12 to 14 Division in a shootout over ABC Community.
“The tournament was a great experience. Thank you again to Thomas Frasca and the entire group from NYC Parks for their efforts and assistance and also to Tom Delacy for helping organize the community teams for this event. We hope to build on this and make it even better,” concluded Nellis.
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 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 http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.