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New US Youth Soccer CEO Skip Gilbert Recalls His New York Roots

By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association

February 13, 2019-Skip Gilbert, hired last December as the Chief Executive Officer of US Youth Soccer, grew up in Eastern New York. The Oyster Bay native's first soccer experience was in 4th Grade at Friends Academy in Locust Valley.

He said, “It was a new school for me, we played soccer in gym and I had no idea what to do when I was put on the field for a scrimmage. But I took to the game and my passion for it expanded every year. As much as I enjoyed soccer and scoring goals, it was in 7th Grade at the Green Vale School where my complete focus changed by playing in goal before practice. It was not long after that the coach saw something in me, put me in goal, and I never looked back.“

Skip’s first experience playing under the US Youth Soccer umbrella came in high school after he moved to Lawrenceville, New Jersey as he played in goal for two seasons with the Mercer County Select Team.

He studied and played at the University of Vermont, being honored as All-American, and spent those summers playing for teams in Eastern New York.

“I played for a team in Queens in a Hispanic league, I think,” Skip recalled. “I was named league MVP, still have that trophy because it said ’Skit Gilbert.’“ 

Skip played in two Empire State Games representing New York City and with the New York State Select Team, both squads with former US Men’s National Team assistant coach Len Roitman as the head coach.

He played professionally with the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1983 and his teammates included Tatu, Sam Allardyce, Glenn Myernick and Hugo Perez. Then he went indoors with the Columbus Capitals of the American Indoor Soccer Association (AISA). 

“After my brief pro days ended, I played with New York Hota in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League. That was the men’s team with opponents like Gottschee, Brooklyn Italians, etc. So as you can see, I was all over the place,” Skip explained. “Those were fun times with some really good teams.”

Skip arrived at US Youth Soccer from the US Anti-Doping Agency, where he served as managing director of operations, marketing and development. He has also worked for US Soccer (Vice President of Marketing in 1997), the US Tennis Association, USA Triathlon, USA Swimming, the Arena Football League and as the Chairman of the National Governing Bodies Council. 

“Our mission at US Youth Soccer is simple,” Skip explained. “It’s to be the most influential voice in youth soccer supporting our state associations, the overall growth of the sport in our country and the development of players, coaches and referees in every community. As a former player and coach, this is an awesome responsibility.”

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, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.