As 2019 comes to a close, it’s also time to celebrate a storied career in youth soccer.
After 41 years of service in the game, LIJSL Executive Director Joan Czach is retiring.
“It’s been a great journey,” Czach said. “I’ve met and worked with so many wonderful people, made lifelong friends, and have memories that will last a lifetime.”
Czach was honored at the most recent Presidents’ Meeting, where the soccer community was given a chance to thank her for all that she has done for the league and game as a whole.
Starting as an assistant coach in 1978 with her son’s intramural team, West Babylon Panthers, Czach may have never guessed the path that would lead her on.
After the original Panthers aged out, Czach was the head coach of a new Panthers team that would go on to be one of the most successful teams in the area. They won five State Cup championships and 12 major tournament titles. The Panthers were the U-17 Boys National Champion in 2000 with the team winning the Fair Play award as well as individual honors such as the Golden Boot (forward Anthony Barberio) and Golden Glove (goalkeeper James Cjasko).
In addition to coaching, Czach served as the West Babylon treasurer and also volunteered as a division supervisor, Chase Cup chairperson, and games chairperson in LIJSL before becoming a board member in 1991 and the league’s executive director six years later.
”Words can’t express what Joan Czach has meant to the LIJSL,” LIJSL President Anthony Maresco said. ”Being involved in youth soccer for over 40 years, her accomplishments are insurmountable as they include coaching the West Babylon Panthers to a national championship, being named 2013 East Region Administrator of the Year and induction into both the LIJSL and Eastern New York Halls of Fame.
“Her dedication and passion for the game helped change the landscape of youth soccer on Long Island. The league is forever grateful for her contributions and we wish her all the best as she starts a new chapter in her life.”
During her tenure as LIJSL Executive Director, Czach also streamlined the registration process as well as spearheading the development of a program to record referee game reports in one step. She also wrote a coaching manual for new coaches.
“Having worked with and coached against Joan so many years ago, it will be hard for me to call the LIJSL office and not be able to talk to her,” Eastern New York Soccer Association President Richie Christiano said. “I still count on her opinions on many of our soccer issues that we deal with.
“As she knows, I have and always will appreciate her help. We (ENYYSA) wish her the best of luck.”
The LIJSL would like to thank Joan for all she has given to the league and wishes her nothing but the best in her retirement!