The Long Island Junior Soccer League had announced at the June Presidents meeting that John Fitzgerald has been named LIJSL Sporting Director and will be managing the overall day-to-day operations of the League. He has spent this past week transitioning into that role and will now be fully engaged in his new position going forward.
Fitzgerald has a longstanding history with LIJSL, serving as the Director of Coaching Education since 2011. He also held the same role in two separate stints from 1996-1998 and 2003-2005, and has been a coach educator since 1996.
“We are thrilled to have John assume this role, and we believe very strongly that he can lead the League through these exciting times and continue the growth the League has seen in past few years,” LIJSL President Andrew Seabury said. “Being connected both to the technical community, the professional game, and his previous background in administration means the LIJSL is now even further strengthened in leading and supporting the soccer community on Long Island.”
Fitzgerald is also heavily involved with the growth of the sport at the state and regional levels. He has been the Boys Director for the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association Olympic Development Program since 2017 as well as coaching the program’s U17 team along with being a member of the ODP East Region coaching staff.
He has also been ever-present within the collegiate and professional game on Long Island during the course of his three decades-plus long career.
His background includes being an associate head coach with the Long Island Rough Riders, having been a part of the USL 2 side’s coaching staff since 2020 and finishing as the USL 2 National Champion runners-up in 2022. He was an assistant coach for the 2015 National Premier Soccer League National Champion NY Cosmos B as well as running the New York Cosmos’ youth setup as the Director of Training and Development Program from 2014-2017. Fitzgerald also won a national title in the United Systems of Independent Soccer Leagues as the head coach of the Long Island Lady Riders. Since 2018, he has held an administrative role with Major League Soccer as a Professional Match Director.
In the collegiate ranks, he served as an assistant men’s soccer coach at his alma mater Farmingdale State College from 1990-1996 before a twenty-year run (1998-2018) at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy as the associate head men’s soccer coach.
“I’m excited to be joining the LIJSL team, and I’m looking forward to help strengthen the league even further in future development,” Fitzgerald said. “As one of the largest youth soccer leagues in the country, and in a region bursting with young talent, we have a responsibility to deliver a top-shelf product to the numerous clubs and thousands of players on Long Island.”
Sonia Kelly, who has been the Managing Director on an interim basis, will now move into a new role as the League’s Operations Manager and work closely alongside Fitzgerald.