Written by Rich Forestano Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:00
Success didn’t come easy for Billy Stevens. The standout New Hyde Park defenseman has seen his share of setbacks, but nothing kept him from achieving his ultimate goal: a scholarship to a Division-I college soccer program.
Stevens recently committed to the University of Michigan to play soccer next year, but the road to Ann Arbor tested his resolve and it paid off. His strength comes from his family. Being adopted at birth, he feels the main priority is to make them proud.
“My family drives me the most because I just want to do good for them,” Stevens said. “I appreciate the game a lot more and I understand that not everything is given to you. You have to work hard. Sometimes things get taken away, but it’s about how you bounce back. It defines the player you are.”
Stevens tore his ACL last December and felt his scholarship opportunities might be in jeopardy, but coaches at Michigan assured him that they were committed to Stevens.
“I went into rehab the day after surgery and the doctors told me I’d be back on the field in five months,” he said. “I did everything they told me to do. I pushed through the tough times; emotional times.”
Setbacks hit Stevens early in his career, as he suffered a stress fracture in his lower back that put him out for three months in 2011. He had to work his way back to become a starter for the U16 New York Red Bulls.
“I was pushing myself as hard as I can,” he said. “I wanted my family to be extremely proud of me.”
Stevens faced another injury earlier that year with surgery to his broken wrist in ninth grade that has caused him to be inactive for most of New Hyde Park Memorial High School’s season.
The wrist injury was a big blow to Stevens, because he had gotten the chance to play alongside his brother John. But it was cut short.
“We played on varsity a couple years together before I had to stop playing for the school,” he said.
Stevens played with the New Hyde Park Wildcats until he was 11 before being scouted to the U.S. National Soccer Team a few years later. From there, he made his first appearance on the U14 New York Red Bulls with coach Bob Montgomery.
“The biggest strength of Billy is his character,” said Montgomery. “He’s had a number of setbacks but the qualities that he brings to the team as a leader is amazing. Michigan’s got themselves a great player.”
Stevens also owes former coach and current trainer Steve Price for this success. Price starting coaching Billy when he was 13.
“Billy was always the best athlete on the field,” Price said. “Some kids, when they are really good, they rest on their laurels. Not Billy. He practiced more than anyone else and worked harder. This is where it got him.”
Aside from Michigan, Stevens garnered interest from Stony Brook, St. John’s and Seton Hall universities as well as Wake Forest, Columbia and Kentucky. He chose Ann Arbor because of its dedication to winning. Stevens plans to study physical therapy.
“When I visited Michigan, the atmosphere that they have for the athletes and their vision to win, they really want a national championship for soccer,” he said.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 27 August 2014 09:07) Saturday, 30 August 2014 00:00
Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.
Nassau County officials say Sewanhaka High School will receive a camera on Covert Avenue, which spans the eastern stretch of the property. Tulip Avenue runs in front of the high school and was also considered. Cameras could begin operation in September.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 27 August 2014 09:06) Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00
The Village of New Hyde Park finished its Operation Main Street project just in time, because the town’s eligibility for federal funds is shrinking, officials announced last week.
“The qualifications revolve around money,” trustee Donald Barbieri said. “Like how much income is being earned by people in the area. I guess as seniors move on, you can’t buy an [expensive home] and it changed the demographic, shrinking our eligible area.”
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.
They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.
The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.
“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”