While the leagues in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) are busy kicking off their spring seasons, Eastern New York’s largest league, the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), started its Spring Season with Long Island Cup matches on March 19 and 20 and the TOPSoccer program gets into the act by kicking off their spring season on Saturday, April 9.
Special Children playing soccer in an organized league started first in the LIJSL back in 1978 when the Huntington Boys Club (HBC) and Massapequa Soccer Club separately started programs in an era when Special Children playing sports is not as accepted as it is today. Both clubs still have TOPSoccer programs today.
Field availability have been an issue since the program’s inception over four decades ago. Marg McGory saw to it that the kids could use the old Marydale Fields in Melville. The Marg McGory Award is now given annually to the LIJSL volunteer who goes above and beyond for TOPSoccer.
Sadly, fields remain an issue today. The Plainview/Old Bethpage TOPSoccer Program has been using a Plainview field complex since the 1980’s, two decades before it became better known as the Peter Collins Soccer Park. With the limited parking at the Soccer Park because of recent condo development, Plainview/Old Bethpage TOPSoccer has moved to the Fern Place School in Plainview.
Using the slogan of “Come Play With Me,” today there are 29 LIJSL clubs in Suffolk, Nassau and Queens with TOPSoccer programs.
Craig Ludin, who has Down’s Syndrome and has been playing for HBC since he was a young boy, received so many medals in the Special Olympics that he was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame a decade ago. Craig’s teammate John Cronin started a very successful local business, John’s Crazy Socks, with his father Mark.
A highlight of the Spring Season will be the Commack TOPSoccer Tournament on Saturday, May 14 at the Burr Road Soccer Complex.
“Our TOPSoccer players are the nicest and most loyal people that you will ever meet,” LIJSL TOPSoccer Chairperson Ann Marie Toth explained.
For more info or to register your child in the program, please call her at 516-694-3567.