Soccer in Levittown, and on Long Island, has grown over the past years. With the increasing number of finely-tuned athletes participating in the sport, the level of commitment, skill and competition has markedly escalated.
Each team must earn a spot in a skill related division, most never making it past Division 2 or 3. Most Division 1 teams consist of players from various towns who have gathered together to form an all-star type team. Obviously, the level of play is top notch with the best athletes from across Long Island competing.
When the Levittown Avengers earned their spot in Division 1 last spring, they were certainly the underdogs. All the boys on the team live locally, most having been part of the Levittown Soccer Club since first beginning to play soccer at 5- or 6-year-olds. Coached by Mike Gennaro, the team has been in existence since 1989 and has gained the respect of many teams and clubs both locally and out of state. Their commitment has paid off over the years earning them many tournament titles and four league championships.
The increasing skill and abilities which the members of the team possess is matched by the level of respect these players have for one another. Most parents and spectators will tell you their success is overwhelmingly due to their cohesiveness as a unit. "We have no superstars. Each and every player is a contributor."
This past Nov. 23, the under-17 Avengers achieved the prestigious feat of capturing the under-19 Long Island Junior Soccer League Top Division High School championship with a 5-1 win over Syosset. It was a must win situation with both teams competing fiercely to gain the title. The first half ended in a 1-1 tie, with each team being awarded a successful penalty shot.
The Avengers came into the second half knowing it was now or never - did they deliver! They placed an additional four goals into the net. A tight defense posted a second-half shutout.
Surrounded by proud parents and spectators, the team heard Coach Gennaro's post game speech, an emotional one. "Right now you boys are the top team on Long Island. I'm so proud, I'm speechless."
Congratulations to Jon Turchi, Eric Hajdukiewicz, Dave Kolstein, Justin Madden, Pete Shoemaker, Tim Watson, Matt Fagan, Amit Golan, Rob LaForgia, Dom Sciame, Steve Schmutzler, Rich Valentino, Kevin Scharen, Gerard Treanor, Rich Wackett, John McDermott and goalkeeper Joe Gennaro.