By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 15, 2021-One reason for the failure of many businesses is that there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians. The West Hempstead Soccer Club has been nicknamed the Chiefs since its inception four decades ago yet there are many Indians running the club, making sure that everything goes smoothly. Consequently, West Hempstead has both a vibrant intramural and TOPSoccer Program and for these reasons is being honored as the December Club of the Month in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA).
West Hempstead intramural players
The original West Hempstead team was named the Chiefs, then the next team was called the Braves with the youngest boys team named Papoose after a Native American baby. The club no longer has Native American team names as they are not as popular among sports teams anymore.
The club was founded in the early 1980’s by a married couple, Wes and Meg Westfal, and they were succeeded by another married couple, Jeff and Dani Oakden.
West Hempstead is currently led by two Co-Presidents, John DeCristoforo and Loraine Magaraci. John’s son, Kevin DeCristoforo, was recently selected as one of the Top 100 Boys Soccer Players on Long Island by Newsday. Kevin was a 3-year starter at West Hempstead High School, was named All-County and selected to play in the Exceptional Seniors Game. In club soccer, Kevin is the team captain of the Boys-Under-19 West Hempstead Titans, who he helped lead to a first-place finish last spring in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) Premier Division.
“West Hempstead is a very diverse and tight-knit community. We work very closely with our school district so we play on school fields,” Magaraci stated. “Our High School-level trainers attend our schools as well as some private schools. We truly believe in giving back so all of our board members and coaches are volunteers. Our High School trainers also volunteer in turn for community service hours.”
West Hempstead currently has 130 travel team players. 154 intramural players go from Pre-K to the 8th Grade at a time when some clubs are having issues filling up intramural divisions.
In 2010, the Lee family put together a one-day soccer clinic for players with intellectual, emotional and/or physical challenges to see what kind of interest there would be in West Hempstead. Their daughter, Jessica Lee, was just seven years old at the time. She proudly wore a shirt that read, “Nothing Can Stop Us.” And so the West Hempstead TOPSoccer Program was born.
Jessica Lee with two West Hempstead TOPSoccer players
Jessica has been such an important and enthusiastic part of the program that she was honored as the 2019 National TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year and received the 2020 Marg McGory Award as the volunteer making a huge difference in the LIJSL’s TOPSoccer Program.
Congratulations to the West Hempstead Chiefs, our December Club of the Month.
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/