The New York Red Bulls boast one of the strongest youth programs not just in MLS, but across the country. In addition to finding and developing local players that keep the academy teams near the top of the national rankings, the Red Bulls have demonstrated their commitment to the future of youth soccer in New York and New Jersey. The organization maintains partnerships with over 100 youth soccer programs, providing camps, clinics and in-house training from certified and professional Red Bull youth coaches.
Each month, NewYorkRedBulls.com will feature one of these partners in our Red Bulls Youth Partner Program Spotlight.
Long Island Junior Soccer League
The Long Island Junior Soccer League, or LIJSL, formed in 1996 as a way to unify youth soccer programs across Long Island, from Queens to Sag Harbor. The organization includes more than 60,000 youth soccer players, which make up over 99 clubs and 500 teams. They have been a partner of the New York Red Bulls for four years.
According to the LIJSL, the philosophy of the organization is to foster the growth and development of youth, through the sport of soccer, at all levels. The Long Island Junior Soccer League is focused on increasing services and programs designed to benefit children, and promoting and growing the sport of soccer on Long Island.
“Since the inception of the Regional Development School program, each year we have had more and more players graduate into the Red Bulls academy program,” said a spokesperson from the LIJSL.
The Red Bulls Regional Development School, or RDS, offers young soccer players, both boys and girls, ages 8 - 14 an opportunity to receive supplementary training from New York Red Bulls’ professional trainers. Intended solely for competitive and elite- level soccer players, the advanced curriculum is specially designed to target individual, technical aspects of the game.
“The RDS program is offered to our players free of charge, as LIJSL provides the funding for the program. We have received nothing but positive feedback. The camps also have been well received, they are organized and affordable and the training has been beneficial to all the participants, which is evident as the enrollment continues to grow.”
Each year, LIJSL hosts the Long Island Cup, one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in North America. Over 1,500 teams participate in the competition over a variety of age groups and skill levels.
The organization is also an active in communities across Long Island. They make collections for the LI Cares Food Pantry, and donate funds from collecting bottles and cans at their soccer parks to foundations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Feed the Children, the Wounded Warrior Project, and the Northport Veterans Administration program. They also offer financial support to UnforgottenUS, a Long Island-based group that organizes efforts to help feed the homeless veterans of Long Island.
LIJSL gives out more than 20 scholarships each year to graduating high school seniors, and offer financial support to teams that advance to regional or national tournaments, such as the USYSA National Championship. Seven LIJSL teams have won USYSA National Championships. They have graduated numerous players to MLS, as well as the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams.
Their sportsmanship program has served as a model for many other organizations. The founder of that program, Rocco Amoroso, is recognized as a lifetime member of the United States Soccer Federation, a distinction given to recognize life-long service and outstanding contributions to advancing soccer in the United States. Former LIJSL president Peter C. Collins has also received the honor.
For more information on LIJSL, call Joan Czach or Ken Ilchuk at 631-648-9020, or visit www.lijsoccer.com.