Contributed by Allen Vartanian
The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is a great soccer program for everyone; from those who are just beginning their years of soccer to the expert team players. It is an organization which brings boys and girls together for one season of soccer and a lifetime of friendship. By the end of the season, all the players of a team feel like a family, and do not want to part; this is also true for the parents.
I can say this for myself as well. I have been a part of AYSO’s Region 88 since 2007.
In this past season, my second season, soccer became a serious thing. During this season, our team, Eclipse, did not take anything for granted. When we started, there was no stopping. We started our season under the guidance of Coach Steve Kovarik and his assistant Lou Finkelberg. They led us through every practice and every game. Early in the season, Coach Kovarik earned all of the team’s trust, and no matter the injury, bruise, or cut, the team always wanted to keep on playing for him.
Our first game with The Leftovers was a tie. This was a very important game. This was the game where Coach Kovarik studied all of the players to determine their strengths and weaknesses. After our first tie, we won every game and made it to the play-offs. The entire team, its parents, and in some cases, grand parents and relatives, were all feeling good about Eclipse and were filled with happiness.
Feeling good about ourselves, the team decided to go headstrong into playoffs, since we all knew that we were going to play with the some of the best AYSO U14 teams. Once again, the Eclipse team worked as a true team and won all games and made it to the championships. Sadly, on Dec. 13 we lost our first game. The team was Dark Strikers, coached by Ed Margosian, who is also one of the best known AYSO Region 88 coaches. However, due to our standing position, we were scheduled to play with the Dark Strikers the following day, too. The winners of that contest would be crowned the Region 88 U14 Champions. That Sunday morning we walked onto the soccer field with pride and power and walked off as champions.
I would like to say thank you to all my Eclipse teammates, Coach Kovarik, Assistant Coach Finkelberg, the referees and all the screaming parents on the sidelines who made this a thrilling season.
These are the reasons for my love of soccer and AYSO. I like the feeling of starting with friendly strangers and ending with a family.
Allen Vartanian, 13, is an AYSO Eclipse team member from Region 88.