Sleepy Hollow Football Club Captures Five Division Titles
by Michael Weitzen, SHFC Vice President –
Building on close to 40 years of an AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) recreational soccer tradition in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, a new era in local youth soccer began with the formation of the Sleepy Hollow Football Club (SHFC) in 2014. As a part of Rivertowns United, this new club joined the ranks of the Westchester Youth Soccer League (WYSL), New York’s largest regional soccer organization, with 17,000 players and more than 650 teams. SHFC fields boys and girls U9 (under 9) through varsity teams, with all players registered within the American Youth Soccer Organization and coached by trained AYSO volunteers. SHFC is the competitive travel program of AYSO Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown and has grown from 11 teams in 2014, to 20 teams in 2018, boasting close to 300 youth engaged in competitive club soccer.
This spring season was exciting for the club with five teams winning division championships. The Legends accomplished a first in SHFC history by winning the top division in its age group and thus holding the honor of the top U13 travel team for Westchester County. Twenty-six teams have won their division in club history but only the Legends have won the top division. They ran away with Division 1 going 8-1-1 and leading the league in scoring and defense. “Nikhil Weltig scored nine out of 28 goals for our offense while Robert Disney and Randall Nugra marshaled an excellent defense conceding only eight goals,” said Coach Fergus O’Sullivan. Coach Herbert Weltig added, “Rotating holding midfielders Hernan Quinde, Andy Pulla, and Brayan Jarama provided support for and linked the offense to the defense enabling their dominating productivity.”
Other division winners were the under age 9 boys – Red Lions; the under age 10 boys – River Sharks; under age 11 boys – Dutchmen; and the under age 11 boys – Dynamo. The Red Lions’ “impressive offense,” according to Coach Brad Sheller, “averaged six goals a game led by Ralfy Rodrguez.” The Dutchmen season’s pivotal moment was against top-rated Yonkers when “Nico Mayor hooked up with Conner Slattery to break a 3-3 tie with a rocket shot from 24 yards out,” stated proud Coach Gary Fairley. Dynamo Coach Howard Allen noted, “While all Dynamo players gave 100%, the success of the season can be largely attributed to the outstanding goal-keeping of Jack McCarthy. His fearless attitude kept the Dynamo in every game.” Meanwhile Coach Ed Greenberg found it difficult to single out any one team-member. “Each game a different player would make a surprising burst of athleticism and spark up the team to play harder.”
In another first, the division 1 under age 11 girls – Blaze won the Westchester Cup. Usually all-star premier teams compete in this tournament and not local travel teams. This is a yearlong tournament with matches starting in September, and only high performing teams advance to an elimination tournament at the SUNY Purchase campus. The Blaze defeated the premier Eastchester Dragons 2-0 in the finals with goals scored by Ellie Fox and Gabrielle Disney. “Ellie and Gabby put us ahead while [keeper] Emily [Aridas] and the defense kept Eastchester scoreless,” said Coach John Sutherland. The Blaze beat four all-star teams and a rival from Rye to win the Cup. They only allowed three goals and scored eleven.
With another successful season on the field, continued growth and strong community support, SHFC was just approved to become an independent club in the Westchester Youth Soccer League. “SHFC is excited to stand on its own, and we will always be grateful for the support from Rivertowns United.” said Club President Matt Evans. “We’re thankful to the schools of the Tarrytowns, Pocantico Hills, and Hackley, as well as the villages of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow for the access of great fields. We also appreciate our talented players of all ages, their supportive families, and the numerous volunteers who coach and manage the club. SHFC is looking forward to serving the community for many years to come.”