Written by Ed Rotondo, email@example.com Friday, 29 March 2013 00:00
One of the largest youth organizations in town, the Garden City Centennial Soccer Club, has kicked off its Spring season. The Centennials have been working hard for over 30 years to provide young soccer players with an environment that allows them to play and enjoy youth soccer. The club has several avenues for the boys and girls who enjoy the game of soccer to play at a level that best suits their abilities.
The largest program, intramurals, is based on four principles: everyone plays, balanced teams, positive coaching and open registration. The program covers boys and girls from kindergarten right through high school and is very dependent on the volunteer efforts of the many parents that step up and get involved. Getting as many parents involved as possible in the program has made the Centennials as successful as it is. Opening day for the intramural season is April 6 with the season concluding with SoccerFest on June 1.
In addition to the intramural program, the Centennials established a developmental program that provides 2nd- and 3rd-graders the opportunity to develop their skills as they prepare to take their game to the next level. The emphasis of the program is on player development with a major focus on technical skill work, basic positioning and general awareness of fundamental game situations.
As per Rob Malhame, club registrar and travel committee chairperson, the Centennial Travel Program has grown to be one of the largest on Long Island, comprised of 41 teams with almost 650 boys and girls playing at an advanced level of soccer. The players range from ages 9 to 19. With multiple teams in most of the age groups it is competitive while offering the right level for each player. Each year before the Fall season the teams all go through tryouts in order to place players on a appropriate team.
In addition to the travel program, the Centennials also have two girls teams playing at the Premier Level, a level that only nine LI girls teams are playing at. The teams representing Garden City are the U14 Wildcats and U18 Sparks.
The regular season for travel teams kicked off the weekend of March 24, while the Long Island Cup (formerly the Waldbaum’s Cup) kicked off on March 16 and the Eastern NY State Cup kicks off for most teams on April 20.
The Centennials have also been a major supporter of the TOPSoccer Program which has been specially designed to integrate additional support and practices for children between the ages of 5 and 18 who love to participate in sports but, because of developmental, learning or behavioral challenges, need modifications to demonstrate their optimal physical abilities when playing games like soccer.
The Garden City Soccer Club will continue its generosity by offering their annual scholarship award for the tenth consecutive year. The scholarship is for high school seniors who are graduating this spring and will be attending an accredited university or college in the 2013-14 school year. Through the end of the 2012 school year, the Centennials have awarded 30 scholarships totaling over $57,000. At least three scholarships, of a minimum of $1000 each, will again be awarded this spring. Applicants must have participated in a Centennial soccer program for at least five years. Participation could include Intramurals, Travel, Referees, and TOPSoccer. Applications must be received by April 1. Applications can be obtained through the Garden City High School guidance office or by going to http://www.gccentennialsoccer.org/centennial/gccentennialsoccer.org/schol.html.