By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
April 8, 2020-Afrim Nezaj was born in Kosovo, came to the United States at the age of 10 in 1968 and his life has been on an upward trajectory ever since.
Capital District Youth Soccer League (CDYSL) President Roy Pfeil stated, “I have known Afrim since the late '70's as a player, an innovator, entrepreneur and, most importantly, a promoter of the game of soccer in the Capital District, from toddlers to adults. Afrim is a soccer icon in the Capital District and loves the game. He has built four facilities that provide a training and competitive environment for soccer players of all ages in the Capital District and beyond.”
Nezaj grew up in the Bronx and graduated from Albany State in 1982, where he was an All-American in soccer and was inducted into the University of Albany Hall of Fame in 2008.
At a time when the original North American Soccer League (NASL) was dying and before Major League Soccer (MLS) kicked off play in 1996, Afrim played professional soccer with the Pennsylvania Stoners, Rochester Flash, New York Nationals and Albany Capitals. He also played semipro soccer for a decade with New York Atlas before he became an entrepreneur in the Albany area.
“His newest facility, Afrim’s Sports Park in Colonie, is spectacular with five Barcelona-size fields, one of which is inside a bubble, two lighted fields, seating on all fields, a team conference room and a restaurant,” Pfeil said. ”The new $11 million facility is a showpiece in the Capital District and New York State.”
Afrim’s Sports Park was scheduled to host the 10th Annual CDYSL Coaches Workshop on March 14 before it was cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. 14 clubs will make the facility their home when play resumes.
Afrim’s Sports Park in Colonie
Additionally, the Altamont resident volunteers as club President of the Alleycats, with 550 registered players, both boys and girls, and has been a CDYSL Trustee for the past two years.
Pfeil added, “I speak for the entire CDYSL when I say that we are truly lucky to have a person with the soccer knowledge, experience and enthusiasm that Afrim has brought to the Board.”
Nezaj stated, “It’s been a pleasure to stay involved in soccer, a sport that I truly love.”
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.