Petro Club Weeks: Terryville Soccer Club
April 29, 2014 | by Ken Ilchuk
Way back in 1966, when the LIJSL founding fathers put our league together, they started with a goal of “Building Character Through Soccer.” Since then, so many LIJSL clubs, teams, and players have gone on to represent their families, their communities, and Long Island in many positive ways, both on and off the soccer field. But our friends at Terryville Soccer Club have truly taken that original mission statement to heart.
“We are trying to build pride within our Club as well as trying to take a more active role in our community,” said Terryville SC President Cora Fitzgerald, who has been with the club for 19 years and took over as president 10 months ago. “Our mission statement is to provide the best possible soccer experience at both the Intramural and Travel level through the values of sportsmanship, positive quality coaching, and enjoyment of the game of soccer.”
In addition to a thriving intramural and travel program, TSC has implemented a club-wide training program for all intramural and travel players in conjunction with the Attacking Soccer Academy (ASA). The goal of that program is to provide the best possible learning environment to help improve a player’s technical and tactical ability. For players aged 3-11, the focus is on developing and improving technical skills like dribbling, passing, receiving, shooting, tackling and heading in a fun environment. For older players, training sessions work to refine technical skills and introduce the tactical aspects of the game. The club also runs a TOPSoccer program that was founded by club members Dennis Lawney and his assistant Bill Mileski.
How do they afford to do those things? Fundraising, of course, and under Fitzgerald, the club has taken on large scale events to provide the funds needed.
“We held our first fundraiser, a golf outing, last year,” said Fitzgerald. “It was very successful, so we are working on our second one which will be held on Sept 29, 2014 at the Port Jefferson Country Club.”
However, the bulk of the club’s off the field activities have less to do with receiving support than with giving back. This fall, TSC will hold their 10th Annual Thanksgiving food drive, with all food collected being donated to a local food pantry to help those in their own community. The Spirit travel team runs a blanket drive, collecting blankets and distributing them at local food kitchens. The Club also adopts a local family at Christmas. Twice a year, the club holds a luncheon at the Atria Assisted Living Home in South Setauket for the residents to thank them for letting the soccer club hold their meetings there.
“We have several of our Travel players come down in uniform and help serve and speak with the elderly residents,” Fitzgerald explains. “They love seeing the children in their uniforms and hearing all about their soccer teams.”
As you can see, there’s a lot going on, but Fitzgerald says there’s more to come.
“We are currently working on organizing our first Opening Day Parade and hope to have it for this fall season,” she said. “We’ve also obtained two AED's and are currently working on getting everyone certified and the AED's certified with the town, and we are arranging to have a C coaching course held at our fields this June. We also just started a monthly newsletter to highlight what is going on in the club.”
Fitzgerald also adds that the reason they are able to carry out so many of these programs is because of the sheer number of volunteers within the club willing to make a difference.
“We have seen our volunteer base increase and ideas on how to improve our Club have increased as well,” Fitzgerald says. “We are making strides to introduce a servant leadership organization, where our players, parents and coaches take an active role in the daily operations of the Club, and that has made many more people feel like a part of it.”
Those people are part of an organization that, through actions on and off the field, has shown it has a keen understanding of its’ important role in teaching lessons through sports.
Congratulations to Terryville Soccer Club for all they are doing on and off the field.