By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
August 27, 2020-Sometimes a beginning is also an ending. The Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), the largest league in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), rebooted soccer on August 22 and 23 after no soccer games there in 2020 because of the coronavirus. In what was a re-opening of matches at the Peter Collins Soccer Park in Plainview, 28 teams––16 boys squads and 12 girls teams––played three friendly games each, with hydration breaks, in the heat and humidity.
These friendlies signaled the end of the of the season for LIJSL Academy teams but also the start of rebooting soccer games for the youth teams from Cold Spring Harbor/Huntington, East Islip, Garden City Centennials, Massapequa, Plainview/Old Bethpage, Rocky Point and Smithtown Kickers. The LIJSL Academy squads had been training at the Collins Soccer Park since soccer practice was allowed again in New York State in July.
“The festival not only presented the chance for our Academy players to return to soccer competition, but provided an opportunity for the league to enact and view game day protocols in a match environment,” stated LIJSL Managing Director Steve Padaetz. “Ronan (Wiseman) and our Soccer Park plus league staff did a wonderful job in insuring that every attending player-family felt welcome and safe.”
LIJSL Academy Director Ronan Wiseman added, “Everything went fine. We’ve seen lots of happy players and parents have been very thankful to us for doing this event.”
The following protocols were followed:
• Teams arrived 45-60 minutes prior to their first game to allow for the check-in process.
• Coaches checked in their players as they arrived and completed the Covid Tracking Contact Sheet.
• Soccer Park staff had temperature guns to take temperatures of all those entering the park.
• Players practiced social distancing while they were waiting in their prep area.
• Spectators wore masks as did their children when they were not playing.
• No post-game handshakes.
“This weekend has been great! I was here all day yesterday with the boys and here all day today with the girls,” explained Massapequa Soccer Club Director of Coaching Paul Bigilin. “One parent per child is working fine so that we can return to playing games. Happy to be here after such a long layoff!”
The Peter Collins Soccer Park, the home of soccer games since the 1980’s, is named after the US Soccer Hall of Famer and former LIJSL President who, in his humility, never said the name of the park. Much like George Washington called the new capital of Washington, DC “the Federal City.”
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.