Staten Island Advance photo of SIYSL Vice President and St. Joseph Hill coach Rob Libertelli coaching his high school-aged team at Owl Hollow
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
November 12, 2020-After New York City’s Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) canceled its high school season this fall, the volunteers of the Staten Island Youth Soccer League (SIYSL) sprinted into action so the kids could play. Nine high school-aged teams––five boys squads and four girls teams––are playing an 8-game SIYSL schedule this fall with all games at the Owl Hollow Soccer Complex.
150 players kicked off their season in late October. The teams were created with the concept of keeping schoolmates and friends on the same squads to mimic the high school soccer experience as much as possible.
“We didn’t know what was going on with the high schools, but once the Catholic schools had a season and the PSAL didn’t, we wanted to get the kids playing,” said SIYSL Vice President Rob Libertelli. “We started this league for them, to give them a chance to play high school soccer.”
14-year-old Victoria Kadar is a freshman at Tottenville High School and was disappointed to not be able to play in the PSAL this fall. Her mother Jennifer commented, “Victoria has been playing since she was five years old and we were highly disappointed (with the PSAL), it was very upsetting, there was no initiative. Friends she had been playing for years were playing for the Catholic schools. She’s always wanted to play at the high school level and represent her school. They (SIYSL) did this out of the kindness of their hearts, it’s amazing. They put the kids first and made this opportunity available.”
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.