Soccer in Smithtown began to take shape as a YMCA summer recreational program in 1971. But what started as a small group of boys kicking a ball around on unlined fields has now developed into one of the largest and most successful youth sports programs in the state, if not the country.
By 1976, the sport had grown, but competitive soccer was still an unorganized summer activity. Enter John Friedrichs, who brought the first travel team to Smithtown and established the Smithtown Y Soccer Club. Friedrichs, along with YMCA board members Vic Iaia and Stan Meyers, created two more travel teams and joined the LIJSL, offering competitive and recreational soccer for the first time. By 1979, the Smithtown Y Soccer Club had 14 teams, including a girls team, and was growing exponentially. To better serve the needs of the players, the Smithtown Kickers Soccer Club was formed as a travel club. Two years later, In 1981, 200 children were registered for the first Smithtown Kickers in-house program. Over the next thirty years, the in-house program has increased sevenfold and now boasts nearly 2,000 children!
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The club has run many successful programs and continues to be a leader in the development of youth soccer. They ran the Smithtown International Tournament for 12 years beginning in 1979, bringing teams from Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, and Europe. They began creating girls only divisions in 1988, and by 1992, the club put a focus on skill development through small-sided and micro league teams. Smithtown was among the first clubs to offer camp programs and professional trainers for players and coaches, they started a soccer program for special needs children in 1997, and host annual picnics and award dinner events to recognize the accomplishments of their players. They also fund two scholarships for Smithtown HS seniors in the name of two longtime volunteers.
Though the league uses many local school fields for games, they also maintain the beautiful Veteran’s Memorial Park fields, including an 8v8 field. Finished in 1992, the complex has served as home to club ever since.
The Smithtown Kickers have become synonymous with success in youth soccer. In addition to numerous league championships, LI Cup and State Cup championships, and LIJSL Sportsmanship awards, they have represented LI at the national level, sending a team of U15 boys to the national youth championships two summers ago.
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