A Field-Good Story: New York City Park Permits to Be Returned to Our Leagues
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
August 31, 2020-On August 21, the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) was greeted with the sobering news that New York City Parks and Recreation would not be giving permits to youth sports organizations for the start of the Fall Season. This decision affected five of our member leagues: Big Apple Youth Soccer League (BAYSL), Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL), Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), Metrokids Youth Soccer League (MYSL) and Staten Island Youth Soccer League (SIYSL). Four of those leagues, the exception being the LIJSL, play most of their games in New York City parks so the denial of permits could have prevented the Fall Season in those leagues from taking place, a terrible scenario for the emotional well-being of our kids who have not played in any soccer games since the lockdown began in March.
Yet, with positive testing of virus cases at or below 1% for the past two months in New York State and park fields open to the public—most with little or no enforcement of social distancing, masks or crowds—Eastern New York programs provide the best way to ensure that children and teenagers can make safe, supervised use of the fields in a way that adheres to city, state and CDC guidelines plus crowd restrictions.
The CJSL’s largest club, South Bronx United, organized a petition on Change.org that received 8,957 signatures in one week. We the people would like to thank all those who signed as well as the elected officials who supported us:
• Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer
• New York City Council Member Joe Borelli (51st District)
• New York City Council Member Justin Brannan (43rd District)
• New York City Council Member Brad Lander (39th District)
• New York City Council Member Mark Levine (7th District)
• New York City Council Member Steven Matteo (50th District)
• New York City Council Member Helen Rosenthal (6th District)
• New York State Assemblymember Michael Reilly (62nd District)
• New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (67th District)
• New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (34th District)
• New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes (22nd District)
• US Congressman Max Rose (11th District)
• Former New York City Council Member Dan Garodnick, current President/CEO of the Riverside Park Conservancy
We would also like to thank Eddie Albert, President of the Prospect Park Baseball Association, for bringing the concerns directly to the Mayor and New York Futsal for their contact with the Parks Commissioner.
We would especially like to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, who announced last Friday, August 28, that the permits would be granted to our leagues, and organizations in other youth sports, for play to resume in mid-September. In making the announcement, Hizzoner spoke about his very happy memories when he volunteered as a Little League coach.
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 Association. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.