By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 5, 2019-The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
(ENYYSA) is very pleased to announce that Long Island Junior Soccer League
(LIJSL) Executive Director Joan Czach has been selected as our Personality of the Month for December. As Joan is retiring at the end of the year, this could be her last soccer award in a lengthy career filled with accolades.
”Words can't express what Joan Czach has meant to the LIJSL,” explained LIJSL President Anthony Maresco. ”Being involved in youth soccer for over 40 years, her accomplishments are insurmountable as they include coaching the West Babylon Panthers to a national championship, being named 2013 East Region Administrator of the Year and induction into both the LIJSL and Eastern New York Halls of Fame. Her dedication and passion for the game helped change the landscape of youth soccer on Long Island. The league is forever grateful for her contributions and we wish her all the best as she starts a new chapter in her life.”
Joan began her career in youth soccer when she volunteered to be an assistant coach for her son’s intramural team, the West Babylon Panthers, in 1978. They became the first West Babylon intramural team to win a tournament, then started playing travel in the LIJSL in 1982. Joan took over as the head coach of the Panthers in 1986 when the original coach, Maureen Nohilly, was killed by a drunk driver.
When the Panthers aged out of youth soccer and were in college, the players made Joan promise that she would take over a new Boys-Under-9 team and also name them the West Babylon Panthers. But the original Panthers, born in 1973, could never had imagined what the new Panthers, born in 1982 and ‘83, would accomplish as they became one of the most successful LIJSL teams ever. The Panthers won five State Cup championships and 12 major tournament titles, including one in San Juan, Argentina. The best was yet to come as they won the Boys-Under-17 national championship in 2000, received the Fair Play Award at the nationals as well as the Golden Boot Award (forward Anthony Barberio) and Golden Glove Award (goalkeeper James Cjasko).
While coaching, Joan served as the treasurer for the West Babylon Soccer Club, regularly volunteered for weekend duty working their hot dog truck and co-chaired club dinner/dances. She volunteered for the LIJSL as a Division Supervisor, Chase Cup Chairperson and Games Chairperson plus volunteered for ENYYSA as the State Cup coordinator. In 1991, Joan was elected to the LIJSL Board of Directors and became the LIJSL Executive Director in 1997.
Two decades ago, the LIJSL did not use databases as everything was handwritten on paper and the league registration process went on for weeks. Joan streamlined the program, starting a database and greatly reducing the number of volunteer hours needed for registration. She also developed a program to record referee’s game reports in one step that used to take two weeks plus has written a coaching manual for new coaches and gave nightly coaching orientation courses.
Additionally as Executive Director, she successfully petitioned the LIJSL Board of Directors to allow girls teams from the Big Apple Youth Soccer League
(BAYSL) and Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League
(CJSL), without a place to play, to compete as guest teams in the LIJSL.
Looking back at her career in youth soccer, Joan said that highlights include winning that national championship and the Argentinian tournament, traveling, making numerous friends through soccer and twice having dinner with the US Women’s National Team players who won the 1999 Women’s World Cup.
”I’m very happy that I remain in contact with the players who I coached decades ago and get invited to their weddings,” she stated.
ENYYSA President Richard Christiano added, ”It’s seemingly impossible to think of the LIJSL without Joan Czach as she has been such a positive presence of the league for the past four decades as both a coach and administrator. We wish her nothing but the best in her retirement.”
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.