Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association honors Woodside coach

Boys Recreational Coach of the Year Juninho Juca (left) with Eastern New York President Richard Christiano (photo courtesy of Eastern New York).

Woodside resident Juninho Juca was named boys recreational coach of the year by the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) at the organization’s Hall of Fame Banquet Nov. 5. The event, held at Marina del Rey in the Bronx, celebrated the organization’s 50th anniversary.

Juca had been nominated for the award by Metrokids Youth Soccer League manager Juan Alvarado. Alvarado had been very familiar with Juca’s work because he was a longtime coach in the league.

“His group of boys have been together a long time, creating a fraternal atmosphere,” Alvarado said. “His players are very enthusiastic about their practices and they are a reflection of what he learned in playing soccer. Juninho’s players have gotten good results in Metrokids games and this has led his players to want to achieve more. Additionally, his team always plays clean and he constantly attends soccer talks to become a better coach.”

Juca’s Soccer Club (Photo courtesy of Juninho Juca)

According to Juca, his team, Juca’s Soccer Club, has been around for over 20 years. After the club was established by his father, Juca has spent the last three years coaching the U16 team, which is comprised of up to 30 players.

(Photo courtesy of Juninho Juca)

“We have a diverse team from all around and have created such a talented team for our U16 category,” Juca said. “This group of young men all have bright futures and I am thankful to coach every single one of them. I think we are the best team in Queens and we will be competing against top clubs around New York. Our club will continue to grow and give opportunities to our kids in tryouts for Olympic Development Program soccer just like we are doing now, competing in big tournaments, college showcases and many more. I am lucky to coach such a talented young team.”

(Photo courtesy of Juninho Juca)

Juca has had a love for the sport for as long as he can remember. He was skilled and fortunate enough to be granted several opportunities. As a member of the Downtown United Soccer Club, his team was able to travel the world and compete against great clubs. In 2015, he and his team got to play in a tournament in the United Kingdom, eventually making it to the finals. In 2017, they traveled to Spain, taking part in matches in Barcelona and Madrid. They played some scrimmage games against second division soccer teams there.

Juca said he wants to give his players the same kind of enjoyable experience that he had. In addition to providing his players with a fun experience, Juca views getting them into colleges where they can continue to play the sport they love as being one of his most important goals as a coach.

The ENYYSA stretches Montauk Point on Long Island to the Canadian border. The nonprofit is comprised of approximately 100,000 youth soccer players and over 25,000 volunteers. ENYYSA’s goal is to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators.

There are many different levels of soccer offered, including  intramural, travel team, premier players and children with special needs. Members of ENYYSA are affiliated with ten leagues throughout the association, covering the entirety of New York State east of Route 81. ENYYSA is also a member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer.

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