By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
September 30, 2021- Under beautiful sunny skies on Saturday, September 25, the Special Olympics Fall Classic returned to Cantiague Park in Hicksville. It was the first time in two years that the Special Olympics were held there as the 2020 version was canceled because of the pandemic.
Teams from the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) TOPSoccer Program did well in the soccer competition. Smithtown won the gold medal and the Huntington Boys Club (HBC) took the silver medal. The Long Island Lions, with a number of players from Plainview/Old Bethpage TOPSoccer, brought home the bronze medal.
Volunteering their time as officials were refs from the Long Island Soccer Referees Association (LISRA) and athletes from SUNY-Old Westbury volunteeered throughout the different sports being played at Cantiague Park.
The first Special Olympics, created by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, were held at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 20, 1968, just six weeks after her brother Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Today, the Special Olympics offer 30 individual and team sports for people with intellectual challenges in over 170 countries.