Written by Gabriella Iannetta Friday, 21 September 2012 00:00
Ken Pilla, who is on the board of executives for the league, informed the Record Pilot that registration has increased dramatically since last year, and that about 95 percent of players are Glen Cove residents, while the rest are from neighboring towns; the waitlist keeps growing.
Coaches and players started their day with big smiles and a sense of pride at the Robert M. Finley Middle School. After a few weeks of practice, teams were ready to show off their team spirit.
Michelle Juarez, third year coach of her daughter’s team, Mailboxes Etc., said that her team is, “a great squad; some real nice girls.” Her husband, Alex Juarez, coach of Fugazy and Rooney LLP’s team, enthusiastically emphasizes the group’s “explosive dynamic.” Bonnie Burke, coach, grandmother of five grandchildren in the league, and mother of her 8-year-old son, met up with her team in front of the movie theater, and stated, “Grandmas can do anything!”
The children held their signs high as they walked through the city’s downtown, and proud parents cheered them on. When asked who this league is important to, Sean Vaughan, coach of Island Photography’s team, beams, “It’s important for the town, great for the kids, and all about community spirit. [Local businesses] close down…and cooperate, so the kids could have their day.”
“We Are the Champions” blared as the parade concluded at John Maccarone Memorial Stadium. Players, parents, and coaches were also greeted by the founder of the league, Marco Malusa, who to this day is still astonished by the support and progress the community has made for the young soccer players.
“What I must emphasize is the spirit we have in this league,” Malusa stated. “We need to have fun, or no one comes.”
Malusa kicked the first goal of the season as a twist this year.
Local politicians spoke to inspire the kids and parents at the beginning of their season. Speakers were sure to explain how with the affinity of volunteers, this league is as strong as ever. Barbara Greenfield was named Volunteer of the Year, and coyly accepted her bouquet of flowers and overall gratitude from board members in front of the entire league.
Mayor Ralph Suozzi noted, “The reason this program is in its fifth decade is because of the innovators like Marco, and volunteers like Barbara.”
State Senator Carl Marcellino, Assemblyman Chuck Lavine, and Councilman Reginald Spinello were also in attendance to make speeches.
Chuck Lavine, with his dog Mona Lisa, eagerly explained that, “Glen Cove is a great community, and this little league is an example of how great Glen Cove really is.”
When asked for further comment after the speeches ceased, he added, “It’s easy to make these speeches when it’s true; the quality of life in this community is wonderful.”