Remembering Two Icons of the East Hudson Youth Soccer League
New York Soccer News: Both Christine and Nick volunteered for youth soccer in the Hudson Valley for decades
Long before soccer was cool in the United States and there was either a US Women’s National Team or Women’s World Cup, youth soccer kicked off in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA). The people who started our leagues and programs during the start of the youth soccer boom were volunteers who simply wanted to give local kids the opportunity to play soccer.
The East Hudson Youth Soccer League (EHYSL) is remembering two irreplaceable figures, Christine Galloway and Nick Raccioppo, as both passed away this summer.
Ken Gulmi, who served as EHYSL President for over two decades, remembers the first time that he met Christine, which was when he first volunteered on the EHYSL Board of Directors in 1988.
Gulmi stated, “She was welcoming and helpful, saying to me, ‘Come sit next to me and I will tell you all that you need to know.’ Christine had an amazing presence in soccer and was idolized in the Hudson Valley.”
She coached for more than a decade in the Beacon Soccer Club around the 1980s, starting with pee-wee soccer, then intramural soccer and travel teams and referred to her players as “my boys.”
She thought that she was finished with coaching until then Beacon Soccer Club President Max Aponte asked her to start the Beacon pee-wee soccer program at ages five and six for the first time ever. That was a quarter-century ago and her grandson Robert Arroyo, then four years old, played up in this new pee-wee age group.
Christine was the first woman inducted into the EHYSL Hall of Fame, in 1996, with her husband Robert following a decade later in 2006. He was the longtime coach of the Dutchess Community College men’s soccer team, now coached by current EHYSL President Jim Purdy. The patterns continue as the Galloways were mentors to current Beacon Soccer Club President Rhey Cader.
Their daughter, Jacqueline Arroyo, stated, “My mother will be remembered for her love for her family and soccer, her fierce hugs as she never let go first and her resilience.
She had a number of health issues including being a Type 1 diabetic and a breast cancer survivor. She just preserved through it all with her standard answer of ‘I’m fine.’ “
Nick Raccioppo started coaching his sons’ teams in the 1980’s but found his calling as an administrator shortly thereafter, volunteering for decades after his own kids graduated from youth soccer. Nick served on the Town of Poughkeepsie Soccer Club (TOPSC) Board of Directors for an amazing three decades, including serving as club President.
Nick volunteered as EHYSL Treasurer in the early 1990’s, leaving the Board in 1994. He was inducted into the EHYSL Hall of Fame in 2000. A massive stroke left him with much free time after he retired from IBM so he had a second tour of duty on the EHYSL Board, serving as EHYSL Secretary from 2006 to ’14.
Nick was Tournament Director for three tourneys at the same time: TOPSC Columbus Day Tournament in the fall, Hudson Invitational Tournament in the summer and the Jim Slater Indoor Tournament in the winter.
“Nick’s many years as a terrific club and league administrator coupled with his passion for both our great sport and the youngsters who play it made him a wonderful source of counsel throughout my 22 years as East Hudson President,” Gulmi stated. “We will all miss his friendship and his common sense approach to our game.“
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.