LIJSL Inducts 2015 Hall of Fame Class
March 06, 2015 | by Ken Ilchuk
The 33rd annual Long Island Junior Soccer League Convention got its’ unofficial kickoff on Friday night when the league hosted it’s Hall of Fame dinner, inducting four new members into their Hall of Fame - Eugene O’Connell of the Brentwood Soccer Club, Frank Schmidt of the Sachem Soccer Club, Hicksville Soccer Club’s Joe Visconte, and Jim Volpe of the Oceanside United Soccer Club. The league also recognized their Volunteers of the Year.
O’Connell has served the club in a wide variety of ways since the early 1980’s. Originally an intramural and travel coach, he served as a member of the Brentwood SC Board of Directors as well as the club registrar, and was a key organizer of the Citibank Father’s Day tournament. He also served as co-chair for the club’s Columbus Day Tournament. At the league level, O’Connell served as a division coordinator for the Chase/Waldbaum’s Cup, was a member of the Liberty Cup Committee, and part of the Exceptional Seniors Committee. He has also been actively involved with the LIJSL Convention and as a division supervisor for the Games Committee.
Known as the dean of the LIJSL Coaching Academy, Schmidt has been involved as an instructor with the program since 1985. He spent 32 years as the varsity soccer coach at Sachem HS, where he earned eight league Coach of the Year honors and three Suffolk County Coach of the Year awards. He has also received a NSCAA Letter of Commendation and has been named Coach of the Year by the National Federation Coaches Association. This doesn’t even begin to tell the story of Frank’s involvement with youth soccer. He was instrumental in starting the Sachem Youth Soccer League way back in 1977 and has grown those eighty original players into one of the largest youth club’s on Long Island. He helped implement small-sided soccer for SYSL and beyond and has volunteered countless hours hosting coaches clinics for the club.
Visconti has been a part of the Hicksville American Soccer Club for over 25 years. During this time he has served the club in countless roles. Known as a guy who lives his life for the kids, he has been involved in every aspect of the club, from the logistics of acquiring field permits and running the snack shack at the field to raise funds, to establishing a scholarship fund for graduating players and a need-based fund for families who couldn’t afford to pay. He has volunteered every year at the club’s indoor intramural tournament and the Spring Parade, and even organized a “fan bus” to go cheer for Hicksville teams at nationals. The snack shed at Kolm Field now bears his name in recognition of his commitment to the youth of Hicksville over many decades.
For the past 40 years, the name Jim Volpe, has been synonymous with the Oceanside United Soccer Club. Player, coach, director of numerous programs, club events and activities, BOD member, and even club president – Volpe has touched them all! His 30-year run as a member of the board of directors, which included a 12-year term as president, was highlighted by significant growth within the club at both the intramural and travel levels which now include over 1,500 players, the creation of their annual Labor Day weekend tournament, the development of a small-sided intramural program, and the club’s Pee-Wee Program. He also coached six different travel teams. At the league level, he served as an LIJSL Select coach and created a Monthly Soccer Coaches Clinic series for LIJSL member club travel coaches, coordinating presentations by top collegiate coaches from New York area. As part of the ENYYSA, he coached in the ODP program for 15 years and was recently appointed as the program’s administrator.
All of this year’s honorees have filled many roles for the youth of their respective communities, and the Long Island Junior Soccer League thanks them for their time, effort, and dedication to the development of youth soccer here on Long Island.