US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year Jessica Lee to Receive the Marg McGory Award From the Long Island Junior Soccer League
New York Soccer News: Jessica was in the middle of her 15 minutes of fame when the pandemic caused the lockdown last March
The Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL), the largest league in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA), has announced Jessica Lee as the 2020 recipient of the Marg McGory TOPSoccer Volunteer of the Year award. The announcement came during the LIJSL’s General Meeting held on December 8 and due to ongoing restrictions, the meeting was held virtually, the first General Meeting to be conducted as such in the league’s 55-year existence.
“Very poised, great young lady, who gives her heart and soul to her community and to the TOPSoccer players there,” stated the League’s Managing Director, Steve Padaetz, upon making the announcement recognizing Jessica as this year’s recipient.
This recognition completes an amazing year for Jessica, first named the TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year by ENYYSA at our Holiday Party last December. That was followed by being named the East Region TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year and then the US Youth Soccer National TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year at a gala held in Baltimore in January.
“I believe that all kids should have the same opportunities in life,” Jessica explained. “TOPSoccer helps make that happen. Seeing the players every week and their faces full of excitement, ready to play soccer, never fails to put a smile on my face.”
After her family started the West Hempstead Chiefs’ program, Lee has been involved with the program for nine years. Playing since she was three, the now 17-year-old plays with the LIJSL’s Garden City Park Shooting Stars, as well as on the varsity team at Kellenberg High School. She served as Kellenberg’s team’s captain this past fall season.
The LIJSL plans to recognize Jessica in a private ceremony at the league offices in Ronkonkoma early next year with her family in attendance.
TOPSoccer, The Outreach Program for Soccer, is a community-based program to give children and young adults with physical and/or intellectual challenges the chance to play the world’s most popular sport. LIJSL clubs were the first in the entire world to start what is now known as a TOPSoccer Program when the Huntington Boys Club (HBC) and Massapequa Soccer Club separately started programs in 1978 at a time when those with challenges playing sports was not nearly as accepted as it is today.
Marg McGory, for whom the annual award is named, was a long-time advocate for those with Special Needs. Associated with the Diocese of Rockville Centre, she secured the Marydale field complex in Melville when the newly formed league TOPSoccer program quickly outgrew its first home, the John Allen Developmental Center in Huntington.
Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association: With 100,000 youth soccer players–both boys and girls–and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) reaches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with nine leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees, and administrators.