The youth of the Oyster Bay community have been developing a love for and knowledge of soccer for 30 years, thanks to the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Soccer Club. The nonprofit organization is holding its third annual fundraiser on Friday, April 13, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Spinnakers.
“It’s rewarding and important to our board at this point of our history to create opportunities to keep our club strong because local soccer community clubs are closing due to players being enticed by the magnitude of academy clubs that have evolved in the last two to three years,” said Stella Leandrou, board president of the club. “The fundraiser provides us the fortuity to pay our fees for field maintenance, keep league fees low and provide scholarships to children of our community who wouldn’t have a chance to play.”
Leandrou has been involved with the club for 15 years and has seen the benefits of the club firsthand.
“The program teaches kids values such as sportsmanship, dedication, commitment and time management,” she said.
And naturally, it provides a foundation for building a love of the sport.
Many players who have gone through the league still continue to play in adult leagues and lots of former club members have gone on to play for Division 1, 2, and 3 schools.
“It’s a compliment to the club to see a team with the same players—they have stayed together and still play together—to see they really do get there. That’s the best part,” she said.
The club serves children ages 4 to 18 and serves about 300 students currently. Members play in the fall, winter and spring and is all volunteer run, though they do hire trainers to work with the kids; Gold Coast FC runs the practices, which are held at Theodore Roosevelt Park.
The fundraiser was created, not only as a way to raise money for the costs of running the club—such as maintaining the field and purchasing uniforms—but also as a way for the parents to come together.
“Just as important [as raising funds] is the need to gather with our parents, friends, neighbors of Oyster Bay and enjoy each other’s company,” Leandrou said. “It’s a good way to get everyone together, be out in the community and just have fun.”
The first two fundraisers were held at the Collector Car Showcase and they decided to change the location this year in order to help support other local businesses. Tickets are $75 per person, which includes food, an open bar and live music by Joe Squared and Silence J.
There will also be a 50/50 raffle and raffles, with prize baskets including: a round of golf at Muttontown Country Club; NYCFC game tickets; an Apple TV; Hoverboard; and BatteryLoft.com, which is providing hundreds of household batteries. Purchase tickets: at www.eventbrite.com/e/oben-soccer-club-3rd-annual-fundraiser-2018-tickets-43224670152.
The Hospital for Special Surgery of Long Island is the top sponsor.
Leandrou said the club keeps its players “safe and identifiable” by providing them Practice Jersey from sponsors: HHS, OB Orthodontists, Nucor Construction, RF Electrical, Douglas Elliman of East Norwich, the OBEN Teachers Association, Dell and Dean Law Firm.
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