There's many reasons why so many people are joining in the action and excitement of soccer.
Besides the joy of running up and down a soccer field with your friends engaging in the wonderful cardiovascular exercise that is soccer plus the excitement of mastering control over a soccer ball, here are the 13 reasons why 123,843 New York children and teenagers have chosen to play in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) in 2013:
1. Helping Others. ENYYSA has a long and proud history of helping our neediest leagues and clubs. ENYYSA and other non-profits all under the umbrella of US Youth Soccer are contributing nearly $250,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief. ENYYSA is donating $80,000, Region 1 is contributing $28,000 and the Long Island Junior Soccer League is donating $125,000 to local clubs needing Hurricane Sandy relief. The East Hudson Youth Soccer League was not as affected by Hurricane Sandy as its downstate neighbors so they have graciously donated $4,000 to the Staten Island Youth Soccer League and $2,000 to the LIJSL. SportsSignup, a longtime friend of ENYYSA, made a $10,000 donation to our leagues most affected by Hurricane Sandy.
2. State Cup. To keep up with our growth, ENYYSA has introduced a third State Cup for 2013 so that all premier and travel team players have a competition corresponding to their team’s ability. So ENYYSA now has the State Open Cup, ENY Upper 90 Cup and Arch Capital Group Cup. Most of the State Cup age groups from Under-10 to Under-19 are divided into North and South regions to conserve time, money and energy so teams hundreds of miles apart need not play one another until the later rounds. The finals are played in early June at large soccer complexes selected by ENYYSA. Winners of the State Open Cup move on to regional competition (which includes the Northeast states from Maine to Virginia) and the national championship should they win the regionals. Boys-Under-15 Manhattan Paris Saint-Germain played in the Nationals in South Carolina last summer and the Nationals will be held in Kansas this summer.
3. Presidents Cup. For those travel teams not yet considered elite, the Presidents Cup offers an opportunity to play regional competition just like the State Open Cup does. If a team wins the Region 1 Presidents Cup, they move on to the national championships. In 2011 and 2012, the Capital United Blue Fusion won the Regionals and represented ENYYSA at the Nationals. The Nationals will be held in Florida this summer.
4. Kohl’s American Cup. The Kohl’s American Cup provides intramural players an opportunity to experience a high-quality statewide tournament in a fun environment. A soccer club, selected by ENYYSA, hosts the Kohl’s American Cup every Columbus Day weekend. The past two Octobers, the South Glens Falls Soccer Club hosted this top intramural tourney.
5. Olympic Development Program. ODP is considered the highest level of competition in the state. Each year, players must be revaluated by the ODP professional staff of coaches for a position on each age-specific team. The identification process ends each summer with the most elite players within Region 1 competing for a position on the regional team. Players are then identified by U.S. Soccer staff coaches for possible entry to the national teams program. Yet even those players who do not make the Region 1 or the national teams often use ODP as a springboard to college scholarships and even to professional soccer. Two recent Eastern New York ODP players made headlines when Crystal Dunn, the MAC Hermann Trophy winner, and Cari Roccaro helped the United States win the Women’s Under 20 World Cup in Japan last September.
6. ENYYSA Premier League. Many of the top teams in each of ENYYSA’s 12 travel team leagues are accepted into the ENYYSA Premier League each year so that they can play comparable opponents in competitive games. 82 teams––49 girls squads and 33 boys teams––played in the ENYYSA Premier League last spring. In the hierarchy of youth soccer, the ENYYSA Premier League is above travel team play and below US Youth Soccer-affiliated premier leagues such as the Region 1 Premier League and Northeast Regional Premier (NERP).
7. Futsal. Futsal is the only version of indoor soccer approved by FIFA, soccer’s world governing body. Many of Brazil’s best players ever such as Pelé, Zico, Socrates, Bebeto, Ronaldinho and Marta all played a version of this 5v5 developmental game as children. 120 youth soccer teams are playing futsal in New York City gyms this winter in New York Futsal, under the umbrella of ENYYSA.
8. TOPSoccer Special Children’s Program. This is a wonderful program for Children With Special Needs. Special Children playing soccer in an organized league actually started in ENYYSA back in 1978 when the Huntington Boys Club (HBC) and Massapequa Soccer Club separately started programs in an era when Special Children playing sports is not as accepted as it is today. Craig Ludin, who has Down’s Syndrome and has been playing for HBC since he was a young boy, has so many medals from the Special Olympics that he has been inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
9. College Scholarships. Every summer, ENYYSA awards six $1,000 college scholarships to help defray the cost of college for deserving high school seniors. Four ENYYSA leagues––Capital District Youth Soccer League, East Hudson Youth Soccer League, Long Island Junior Soccer League and Westchester Youth Soccer League––all have separate scholarship programs as well.
10. E-College Planning. ENYYSA offers college planning resources and tips from The Sport Source®. A number of factors need to be taken into account when selecting a college such as area of academic interest, local vs. away-from-home, commuting vs. residential campus, large vs. small school and the costs. College soccer coaches are constantly on the lookout for new prospects. For prospective college players, it is of utmost importance that they do a thorough investigation of potential colleges in order to be identified as early as possible as many coaches begin identifying prospects in the early years of high school. The Sport Source® helps ENYYSA players in the college search process.
11. Coaching Education. Under the supervision of ENYYSA Director of Coaching Instruction Tim Bradbury, the coaching licensing curriculum provides all soccer coaches, from the beginner to the advanced, with up-to-date theoretical and practical knowledge so that ENYYSA coaches can help our players develop to their full potential. Coaches can earn state and national coaching credentials plus the courses offer valuable information and current coaching trends state-wide, nationally and internationally. All courses are available in both English and Spanish.
12. Referee Certification. Every ENYYSA game is officiated by a referee and often two assistant referees. All these officials must pass a rules test after attending a certification class administered by ENYYSA. Annually, officials must pass a written rules test as well as a physical fitness test to be able to continue to referee––also administered by ENYYSA. Officials can improve through gaining game experience, clinics and field assessments.
13. Risk Management. To protect our players, ENYYSA conducts background checks on coaches and referees before they can participate in ENYYSA games. They must pass this background check every two years to continue to be involved in our games. ENYYSA also provides awareness education to coaches, communicating information regarding field and player safety.
With 123,843 youth soccer players––68,587 boys and 55,256 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 12 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 Special Children. 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 on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.