By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 4, 2020-This year might be a turkey but that did not prevent three Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) clubs with a long history in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) from hosting their Alumni Games over Thanksgiving Weekend. It’s a time to renew old friendships while the weather is still conducive for kicking around a soccer ball on an open field. These Alumni Games have endured for decades as the friendships made on youth soccer fields often last a lifetime.
Founded in 1971, the Rockville Centre Soccer Club has the oldest Alumni Games as they started over 50 years ago in the mid-1960s when the graduates from South Side High School boys varsity team got together and it has evolved into a club-run event that was played on Saturday, November 28. The venue was the newly-turfed Tighe Field, named after beloved Rockville Centre Soccer Club Board Member, coach and former player Steve Tighe who was killed on 9/11.
“This year's game was dedicated to long-serving Board member, coach, club treasurer, field scheduler plus Eastern New York ODP coach Richard Schroeder, who passed away this past October,” said Peter Bralower, who runs Rockville Centre’s Alumni Games.
The Garden City Centennial Soccer Club kicked off play in 1969 and its name comes from its first year being the 100th anniversary of the Village of Garden City. The club’s Alumni Games began over two decades ago with the men plus a women’s match was added in 2010. Approximately 50 alumni from the club or from local high schools played on Saturday, November 28 on the turf at Garden City’s Pool Field. Ladies first as the women played at 11:30 am and the men at 12:45 pm.
The Oceanside United Soccer Club, founded in 1962, normally plays its Turkey Bowl at Oceanside Park on Thanksgiving Day but there is nothing normal about 2020. Because of inclement weather on Thanksgiving, their game was switched to Sunday, November 29 at Rudy Lamonica Memorial Field at the Merle Avenue School, named after the teenager who scored more than half of Oceanside High School’s goals in the 1968 and ’69 seasons in leading the Sailors to consecutive Long Island championships before his tragic death from bone cancer in 1970. Three dozen Oceanside United coaches, administrators plus current and former players had fun in the 31st Annual Turkey Bowl.
“The Turkey Bowl is a beautiful celebration of the camaraderie of guys who get together every year to play soccer,” explained Oceanside United’s Rich Eisenberg, who organizes this annual event.
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 https://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.