The Roosevelt Island Youth Program soccer program held its championship games Saturday, November 18, at the Octagon soccer field. Both the Minors and Sophomore Divisions started with six teams each. The Juniors and Seniors had four teams each.
The Juniors Division champions were Los Angeles, who beat New York 7-6.
Three of the volunteer coaches for the four winning teams reflect on their season, their team, and their win.
The New England Revolution capped off a thrilling season by winning the Minors Division Championship. Led by Head Coach Chris Warsing, Coach & Chief Strategist Tapan Parikh, and Coach & Head Motivator Hiro Ogawa, the Revolution finished with seven wins, one loss, and two draws. From the first practice in the summer heat, it was clear that the Revolution was a special group of athletes, bonding as a team with a singular, almost maniacal focus. All season, the speed and energy displayed by Kayden, Max “Power”, Savannah, Evander, and Jasmin elicited “ooh and aahs” from the parents and fans who crowded the field for a chance to witness the spectacle of a game brought to a new level. Jomy, Zahara, Jovan, and Shimpei commanded the pitch like it was their backyard. The Octagon Field was left ragged, literally coming apart at the seams, from the ceaseless pounding of New England cleats on the once pristine turf.
The Revolution’s more experienced players offered steady leadership from the start. In their second season together, Sorin, Eli, Sonny, and Hajjar dazzled with teamwork developed over dozens of games and practices together. For these wily veterans, the joy of finally raising the Championship trophy undoubtedly erased the heartbreak of a season ago.
– Chris Warsing
In early September 2017, we met our wonderful team, the New England Red Bulls. As the league started, our kids played hard, but we had trouble earning a win. Little by little, our kids became more skilled, started to understand each other’s personalities, and cooperated better. Gradually, when the players started to pass the ball and learn their respective roles on the field, the game flow improved.
In the middle of the season, Junior Coach Amir joined our team, further motivating our kids. The final game of the regular season ended in a draw and we proceeded to the playoffs, in fourth place overall. Our kids were looking at playing with the top seeded team at playoff. That’s when I realized our scrappy team could win the first-place title.
In that game, our kids advanced the game dominantly against their opponent who had only lost two games in the regular season. We won 1-0 in a penalty kick game. At the following week’s championship game, our kids played their roles precisely, advanced the game, and scored their goal just before the end of the first half, winning 1-0. At that moment, the kids shared a joy of victory with big hugs, great smiles, and cheers.
I would like to say, we are sincerely thankful to Roosevelt Island Youth Program Executive Director Charles Delfino, Andrey Chichagov, and staff who organize sports programs every year.
– Fumihiro Ogawa
This past weekend, the soccer team I coach won the Senior Division (Boys and Girls ages 14-17) Championship in the RIYP Soccer League. Our team, New York, beat a tough Los Angeles team in a hard fought 3-2 win. This is my fifth season coaching in the RI Youth Program Soccer League and I’m particularly proud of how the boys and girls played together as a team, foregoing emphasis on individual accomplishment, a concept that can sometimes be difficult to grasp in this age group.
I thoroughly enjoyed coaching this group. Special thanks to Charlie Defino’s assistant, Andrey Chichagov, along with Franz, Joanne, and all of the referees.
I can’t believe this is my 5th season coaching on the Island and my 4th season with the 13-17 age group, a great age for mentoring and/or intervention; it’s so enjoyable to watch the kids grow in so many ways right before my eyes. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a small part of their lives.
– Jack McManus