Amorello, Casimir, Cirella, Knight Join LIJSL Hall
March 07, 2014 | by Ken Ilchuk
Friday night’s LIJSL Volunteer Awards dinner unofficially kicked off the league convention weekend and served to recognize the people behind the scenes who bring the great game of soccer to the kids of Long Island. Among those honored were Brentwood’s Sal Amorello, Fritz Casimir of Cambria Heights, Arleen Cirella of HBC, and Gregg Knight of the Merrick Soccer Club, who became the most recent inductees of the 90+ member Long Island Junior Soccer League Hall of Fame.
Amorello has been in the volunteer ranks in Brentwood and with the LIJSL for over 30 years. From intramural and travel coach, to referee and concessions director, he did it all for Brentwood’s club. He was also one of the founders of the Father’s Day Citibank Tournament and served as the tournament director for fifteen years. He played a similar role for the club’s Columbus Day Travel Tournament. At the league level, he is a former Liberty Cup director and helped organize games in Ireland and Russia. He has also worked on projects like the Soccer Zone TV Show, the LI Cup, and the Exceptional Seniors Game, and has also been a member of the LIJSL Convention committee as the director of operations for the past twenty five years.
An immigrant to the US from Haiti 52 years ago, much of Casimir’s adult life has been dedicated to giving back to his hometown community of Cambria Heights and Laurelton in Queens. A civic leader who served active duty in the US Army and holds degrees from Baruch, St. John’s, NYU, and CW Post, he has also been a volunteer with the American Legion, the Lions Club, the Community Planning Board, and the Southeast Queens Junior Olympics. But he is most well-known for his role as director of the Kickers Youth Sports Association and the Cambria Heights/Laurelton Soccer Club. While the organizations have done many positive things on the fields of play, under Casimir’s direction both have provided invaluable recreational, educational, and mentoring needs for thousands of youngsters in southeastern Queens, and provided the necessary skills to acquire acceptance and scholarships towards a college education.
Cirella, like many, started as an intramural and travel coach with the HBC Soccer Club, but soon became an integral part of the many programs run at the league level. As an LIJSL volunteer, Cirella was an inaugural member of the committee that created the TOPSoccer Special Children’s Program, the chairperson of the LIJSL Scholarship committee, was very involved as a member of the Convention staff, and also served as the Chase Cup coordinator, Select Girls Program administrator, and Liberty Cup volunteer.
Serving eight years as a recreational coach and another nine as a travel coach with the Merrick PAL, Knight led his teams to multiple state and regional premier league championships, and his team went on the win the prestigious Tampa Bay Sun Bowl Tournament. Off the field, Knight served selflessly as the president of the Merrick PAL Soccer Club for ten years, implementing a sportsmanship program, and a code of conduct for parents and players. He is a former member of the LIJSL Board of Directors, sitting on several committees, including the convention committee, Waldbaum’s Cup committee, and player arbitration. He also served as ENYYSA Vice President and was Chairperson of the ENYYSA Premier League committee.