New Jersey Youth Soccer Honoring Volunteers
Khya Robinson, NJ Youth Soccer
New Jersey Youth Soccer continues its virtual celebration of the 34th Annual NJYS Awards Presented by RWJBarnabas Health today, officially announcing Thomas Pagani of RSA Soccer and Bill Smith of Toms River Independent Soccer Club as the 2021 NJYS Liesel Krehan Volunteers of the Year. This award is presented to individuals who serve as great role models to the soccer community while also demonstrating a willingness to promote the game through their actions and character.
A lifelong member of the New Jersey soccer community, Thomas Pagani tragically passed away in late 2021, but his legacy is one that continues to have a tremendous impact throughout RSA and the youth soccer landscape at large.
“Thomas Pagani has left behind a legacy at RSA that few will ever reach,” said Patrick Fuentes, New York Red Bulls Regional Coordinator. “The tireless hours of work and passion towards RSA has helped to inspire a generation of players and volunteers to carry on his legacy.”
During his tenure as RSA President, Pagani sought to advance the Robbinsville-based club to new heights. He was a selfless leader who allowed the experience and expertise of others to take center stage in order to help the club grow. In the fall of 2021, RSA reached its highest membership in years due to his incredible guidance and countless hours of work.
Pagani could most often be found at the soccer fields, whether it was helping to organize the field setup, remedy any problems that should arise or simply to watch the teams at the club play. In addition to his work at RSA, Pagani fostered various relationships throughout the state to assist in the development of the game in Robbinsville and the surrounding region. Among those connections included a partnership with the New York Red Bulls to provide coaching for players at RSA and allowing New Jersey ODP to use their fields for ODP events. Additionally, Pagani coordinated field availability for Mooch Soccer, a program for inner city youth, so they could have a home for their teams to train and play games.
Bill Smith has been dedicated to the betterment of soccer in his community for a number of years. Among his many contributions include the creation of a hardship program within Toms River Independent Club (TRIC) that provides registration scholarships to low-income families. He has also gathered and donated soccer equipment to schools in other states to help them have a season, and he assisted with organizing a local match fundraiser with other clubs that raised $15,000 for families in need. Smith fully believes in the power of helping others through soccer, and his motives in the game are dedicated to that objective.
“I am extremely honored to be the 2021 NJYS Liesel Krehan Volunteer of the Year,” said Smith, who participated in an exclusive interview with New York Red Bulls defender John Tolkin about the award. “I was shocked by the notice that I was nominated, let alone selected, to be the winner. I would like to thank all the volunteers that I have worked with across the state of New Jersey that helped make it so enjoyable to provide soccer for New Jersey’s youth.”
A strong promoter of the sport, Smith maintains a passion for growing soccer throughout the state while creating an environment where everyone can enjoy the game.
The virtual celebration of the NJYS Awards Presented by RWJBarnabas Health will continue over the coming weeks, with award winners being announced and featured in special video interviews. To find out more information about New Jersey Youth Soccer or to contact us directly, please email email@example.com. Also make sure to follow us on social media: @NJYouthSoccer