2015 HOF Inductees
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 16, 2015-The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Eastern New York State Adult Soccer Association are pleased to announce that Frank Lackner has been inducted into the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place at our 2015 Holiday Party on December 6 at Marina del Rey in the Bronx.
Frank grew up and was a longtime resident of Ridgewood, Queens and started playing as a goalkeeper for B/W Gottschee of the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL) as an 11-year-old. He graduated to the B/W Gottschee men’s team and played for the blue-and-white from 1977 to 1995, winning the Cosmopolitan Soccer League (CSL) championship in the 1990/91 season.
He volunteered as B/W Gottschee club secretary starting at the age of 20 in 1978 and continued in that role until 1984. Frank served as club treasurer from 1984 to ‘89 and as club president from 1989 to 2001. During this time, he was very involved in organizing the summer festivals at the historic Metropolitan Oval. Highlights included concessions, the soccer tournament and the big dance tent. Rudolph Giuliani, when seeking election as New York City Mayor, came to the summer festival at the turn of the millennium.
During all this time, Frank also volunteered on the CSL Executive Board, organizing the CSL’s successful indoor tourney for the past 30 years. Frank has also served on the CSL Appeals Committee with John Kilby for the past three decades.
“Frank always keep his calm during heated discussions from people who are passionate about their soccer,” commented fellow Hall of Famer Peter Strumpf. “He is highly regarded by everybody he comes in contact with and is a man for all seasons.”
Congratulations to Eastern New York Hall of Famer Frank Lackner.
December 15, 2015-Congratulations to James Bowne, the newest member of the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place at the 2015 Holiday Party organized by both the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Eastern New York State Adult Soccer Association on December 6 at Marina del Rey in the Bronx.
Jams kicked off his soccer career as a player for Brooklyn Technical High School back in 1971. He picked it up again when he took over the LaGrange men’s team in 1995, from which he brought their “informal summer league” they played in to state affiliation in 2003. He and John Jorgenson co-founded the Over-40 Division of the Eastern District Soccer League (EDSL) in 2004 with only four teams. It has since grown to 17 teams and participates in the Amoroso Cup.
“James is a major reason why the EDSL has become the largest adult soccer league in Eastern New York. He founded our Indoor at the Net League in LaGrange and the Over 40 Fall and Spring Leagues in addition to becoming an official for Eastern New York games,” commented EDSL President Peter Pinori. “James is always willing and ready to help in any situation that might occur. He and his wife Tania are also good friends to me and the entire Board of Directors.”
He took over the Summer Mens-Over-30 division from Chris McLernan, the President of the LaGrange Soccer Club, in 1998 and is also in charge of their indoor division. James volunteers as well as the Registrar and Games Chairperson of the EDSL’s Mens-Over-40 division.
James took up the whistle in 1998 after passing the Grade 8 Referee Certification course in 1997. He has since officiated in six youth leagues in ENYYSA––East Hudson Youth Soccer League, Hudson Valley Youth Soccer League, Westchester Youth Soccer League, Capital District Youth Soccer League, Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League and the Long Island Junior Soccer League. Besides being a member and instructor of the Hudson Valley Soccer Referee Association (HVSRA), James refs college games with his colleagues in the Mid-Hudson Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association and high school matches in the Mid-Hudson Soccer Officials Association.
In 1999, James completed US Soccer’s Assignor Course and assumed the position of Head Referee for the LaGrange Soccer Club until 2006, when he moved to Beacon. He selects and schedules refs for all indoor competitions at The Net in LaGrange and guides youth referees every weekend during the winter season.
December 10, 2015-The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Eastern New York State Adult Soccer Association are pleased to announce that Gregg Knight has been inducted into the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place at our 2015 Holiday Party on December 6 at Marina del Rey in the Bronx.
Gregg was an intramural coach in the Merrick Police Athletic League (PAL) from 1987 to 1994 and was a travel team coach with the Merrick Magic of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) from 1994 to 2002. The Magic were one of the top teams in New York during the 1990’s, winning Eastern New York’s State Open Cup twice, finalists two other years plus won the Region 1 Premier League and Tampa Bay Sun Bowl. Gregg served as President of Merrick PAL for a decade, starting their Sportsmanship Program and writing a code of conduct for parents and players that still appears on all PAL applications today.
He was a Trustee on the LIJSL Board of Directors from 2000 to 2008 and volunteered on the committees for Player Arbitration, the Waldbaum’s Challenge and the LIJSL Convention. For all this volunteering, he was inducted into the LIJSL Hall of Fame in 2014.
Gregg served as Vice President of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association from 2002 to 2009 and continues as a member of the State Cup Committee to this day. When players step onto the fields for the finals, they might take it for granted that the fields are lined and ready to go, the equipment is in place, the registration tables are ready, etc. All of this is done through Gregg’s leadership as he transports the signage and equipment from the ENYYSA office in Rockville Centre to the diverse State Cup venues.
“Gregg does all this on his own time, taking vacation days in order for the kids to play,” commented longtime volunteer Burt Wilkes.
If all that was not enough, he was also a member of Eastern New York’s Premier League Committee from 2006 to 2011, serving as its Director in 2009.
Congratulations to Eastern New York Hall of Famer Gregg Knight!
December 9, 2015-The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Eastern New York State Adult Soccer Association are pleased to announce that Fred Valenti has been inducted into the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place at our 2015 Holiday Party on December 6 at Marina del Rey in the Bronx.
After immigrating to New York from Sicily in the late sixties as a teenager, Fred served in the army during Vietnam and returned home to marry his high school sweetheart, Karen. With the birth of his sons, Fred began a soccer career that led him to become an extraordinary presence as a coach, administrator, committee member and referee.
When his oldest son, Vincent, was five, Fred began his coaching career in 1981 as an intramural coach in the Mahopac Sports Association (MSA) Soccer Club. Seeing a need for trained referees, he also became a certified ref shortly thereafter. Then he became a travel team coach for his son Michael with the Mahopac Hurricanes of the East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL) and then, after his sons graduated from high school, continued on coaching the Mahopac Knights for a total of 20 years. His teams continued to improve and they reached four Final Four rounds of the State Open Cup as Under-16s and Under-19s and produced numerous Olympic Development Program players. Fred eventually served as an ODP goalkeeper coach for Eastern New York ODP North Boys for three years as well.
Fred volunteered as a member of the Executive Board of Mahopac Soccer Club for over 15 years, primarily as a Head Referee and Assistant Travel Director. He organized travel team tryouts, helped train new coaches and served on numerous committees. In particular, he mentored and trained literally dozens of youth referees, donating untold hours to the success of the club. The Mahopac resident was inducted into the EHYSL Hall of Fame in 2003 and has also served for many years since then on the EHYSL Hall of Fame Committee and has been a member of EHYSL’s Supervisory Committee for the past 10 years. When the EHYSL initiated a “Scout” program to attend assigned matches and mentor both the coaches and referees involved, he was one of six individuals chosen to kick-start the program out of 2,000 + coaches and 250 referees! He has also been a member of the Eastern New York Supervisory Committee for the past six years.
Fred is also well-known for his work as a referee. Since 1982, Fred has risen from new referee to USSF State Emeritus, Grade 15. He has officiated thousands of youth and adult matches and, as a member of National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA), has also become one of the leading high school and college officials in New York. Indeed, he achieved the remarkable distinction of becoming a National NISOA referee (usually limited to young up-and-coming refs) past his 50th birthday––one of only three NISOA National Referees in the New York City metro area at that time.
Congrats to Fred Valenti, Eastern New York Hall of Famer.
December 17, 2015-Congratulations to Vincenzo Valente, the newest member of the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place at the 2015 Holiday Party organized by both the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association(ENYYSA) and Eastern New York State Adult Soccer Association on December 6 at Marina del Rey in the Bronx.
Vincenzo grew up playing soccer in Bari, Italy. He emigrated to the United States and lived in the Bronx when he was not serving in the Armed Forces from 1959 to 1961. He joined Mount Carmelo’s CYO and played many games at Van Cortland Park.
In 1972, Vincenzo founded a soccer club, Associazione Sportiva Bisceglie, named after the part of southeastern Italy where he grew up. The club joined the Italian-American Soccer League (IASL) and in its inaugural season of 1973-74, the team received Coppa Disciplina, the IASL Sportsmanship Award.
Two years later, Vincenzo was elected Recording Secretary of the adult soccer association and started serving on multiple committees.
In 1989, he partnered with Adult Soccer Association president Sal Rapaglia and Vito Bavaro, President of the Bagnarese team from New Jersey, to form the Northeast Super Soccer League, the closest thing to a professional outdoor soccer league in the New York metro area at the time after the folding of the original North American Soccer League in 1985. Vincenzo served as the Northeast League’s president and started a joint venture with the Hellenic-American Soccer League in 1995, a year before Major League Soccer kicked off.
In 1990, Vincenzo, along with Sal Rapaglia and Alfonso Vargas, got the construction of the Cropsey Avenue Fields in Brooklyn off the ground.
Now retired and living in South Setauket, Long Island, Vincenzo enjoys watching his grandchildren play the beautiful game.