While many business conventions around the world have been seeing fewer attendees and some have been cancelled due to the challenging economy, America's largest soccer convention is all set for Long Island in mid-March and will once again have something for everyone.

12,000 soccer players, coaches, referees and fans are again expected to attend the Long Island Junior Soccer League Convention on Friday, March 13, Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15. The 27th edition of this event is being held at the Huntington Hilton on Route 110 in Melville. As always, admission is free.

"This year's convention is dedicated totally to our volunteers," commented LIJSL President Addie Mattei-Iaia.

The LIJSL Convention kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night, March 13 with the Volunteer Awards Dinner. The Volunteer of the Year from each LIJSL club as well as the league's newest Hall of Famers--Ralli Chadeayne of the Farmingdale Soccer Club, Al Micucci from the Sachem Youth Soccer League and the Massapequa Soccer Club's Rob Snyder--will be honored. There will not be a keynote speaker this year to allow dinner attendees more time to socialize with friends who they might not have seen during the cold, snowy winter.

Throughout the course of the weekend, there will be exhibitors selling soccer uniforms, tapes, books and tours all while the LIJSL's Sportsmanship Award-winning teams are honored, Olympic Development Program teams, club presidents, coaches and division coordinators hold meetings, referees learn at clinics plus kids trade soccer patches and pins.

"Our convention provides the Long Island soccer community with a place to network," commented LIJSL Convention co-Chairperson Gina Titus.

Special events include:

• Fun-filled soccer games. Some of the LIJSL's Under 10 and Under 11 age group teams play eight vs. eight on a blown-up soccer field that looks like it could have been made in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. The action takes place on the Hilton's outdoor tennis court.

• Long Island Care Group conducts a CPR and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) training course for both adults and children. Included is how to use an AED in the highly important minutes after a person's heart stops. LIJSL and its clubs have helped spread the word of the importance of having AEDs at fields, gyms and schools.

• A convention food drive. With many Long Islanders including soccer families in desperate need, LIJSL families will be dropping off non-perishable items all weekend for Long Island Cares-The Harry Chapin Food Bank.

• LIJSL College Forum for all interested high school sophomores and juniors. A panel of college coaches, players and soccer parents discuss NCAA requirements, financial aid and finding the college for you.

• There will be a LIJSL Volunteer Reception, sponsored by Adidas, from 5-9 p.m. in the Savoy Ballroom on Saturday, March 14

• A coaching "D" course given by the LIJSL Coaching Academy in which league coaches and parents can earn a "D" coaching license. The four-hour course explains the proper methods in teaching youth soccer players exposed to soccer for the first time.

The LIJSL Convention schedule is attached. Join us for an amazing weekend of soccer! For more information, please contact the Long Island Junior Soccer League at 631-648-9020. Logo
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