Soccer is the world’s most popular sport and it is quickly becoming one of the hottest sports in Valley Stream.
Just ask leaders of the Valley Stream Soccer Club, who are seeing registration numbers grow and children become more serious about a sport known as football in just about every other country. That’s what prompted league officials to seek out a new partnership with the New York Red Bulls, one of the Metropolitan area’s two professional soccer clubs.
“Everybody wants to go to the next level,” said league President Timmy Graham. “We’re pushing these kids and they want to be pushed.”
The Red Bulls operate one of the nation’s most highly-respected training academies, according to Soccer Club officials, and Valley Stream’s players will now benefit from that program. Every team at the intramural level will receive training from the Red Bulls each week during the upcoming season, and the league’s travel teams will also be able to take advantage of this opportunity.
Additionally, Valley Stream Soccer Club coaches will also be trained by Red Bulls staff. “They’re not just improving our kids, they’re improving our coaches as well,” said Andy Illiano, the league’s first vice president and intramural coordinator.
Soccer Club officials are looking to lengthen the league’s calendar beyond just offering spring and fall seasons. They want it to be a 10-month operation to inlcude indoor clinics for players in the winter at local schools. “The more you touch the ball,” Graham said, “the better you get.”
Enrollment in the league is on the rise. There are now about 750 children and teens signed up for the fall season, which begins later this month. That is up more than 100 players from three years ago. League officials expect the number to climb even further with the Red Bulls partnership.
Adriande Morales, 10, who has been playing in the league for the past three seasons, said she looks forward to the training. “I think it’s going to help improve us in soccer,” she said.