Written by Chris Boyle Friday, 02 August 2013 00:00
Nassau County hosted its third annual Executive Cup at Cantiague Park in Hicksville this past Saturday, highlighting the skills of local high school athletes who dream of playing soccer at the college level.
The soccer tournament event, drawing a record-breaking 300-plus participants this year, originally started in 2011, according to Gabriel Marques, senior economic advisor for the Nassau County Comptroller’s Office. Local participants included: Dylan Cranmer, Levittown; Nick Rodriguez, Hicksville; Anthony Martinico, East Meadow; Billy Walsh, East
Meadow; Greg Baumstein, Wantagh; Kevin Mayer, Wantagh; Noelle Batista, Hicksville; Danielle D’Andrea, Levittown; Melissa Adamo, Hicksville; Nicole Greenwald, Levittown; Keley Abbriano, Hicksville; Gabrielle Lagomarsini, Wantagh; Jessica DeTurris, Hicksville.
“I’m an avid soccer player, and I play for the Mineola Portuguese Soccer Club. It’s one of the oldest amateur soccer teams on Long Island,” he said. “Given the amount of local high school kids we had trying out for our team, we decided that maybe we should partner up with Nassau County to help these kids out, so we got in touch with
AndGoSports, and they put this together for us, and the county does the rest.”
Marques said that the plan behind the Executive Cup is to give young athletes across Nassau County a fair shot at getting recognized for their achievements on the field.
“This idea is to get the colleges better access to the players in Nassau,” he said. “The first year we had about 60 kids try out, and we had two teams of about 18 players each. Last year, we had 200 boys and 50 girls try out, and this year we’re hitting 300.”
The success of the Executive Cup speaks for itself; since the inception of the event, there have been 50 participants who have either received a bump in their existing scholarships or received a new scholarship outright, Marques said.
“There are a lot of scouts here, but obviously, because of NCAA regulations, they can’t speak to the players or their parents, so they’re kind of incognito,” he said. “But we have 60 scouts registered with us today who are passing by.”
This year’s event features four boys’ teams (Red, Black, Silver, and Blue) and two girls’ teams (Silver and Navy Blue), and while each team normally just plays one game, this year the Executive Cup boasts enough participants to include a championship game and a consolation game for the boys; however, the girls have less participants at the moment, so there is only one game for them currently.
“It’s really great, especially on the developmental level,” Marques said. “Underprivileged kids, minorities, low-income families...this is a great opportunity for them, for free, to get in front of college coaches and make something happen.”
Marco Da Fonte, the showcase director for AndGoSports, said that his company works hand-in-hand with the county each year to ensure that the Executive Cup is a success.
“The county approached us about putting together a showcase event for them, because ultimately what we do is place kids into universities,” he said. “Our first year was just boys, and it was very successful...by year two, we have even more people try out, and we also implemented a girls’ team as well.”
Soccer player Gabrielle Lagomarsini stated that, due to the competitive nature of soccer, the Executive Cup offers a way to shine that players might not ordinarily receive.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” she said. “A lot of girls tried out and a lot of them didn’t make it...this is a tough sport and the Executive Cup allows you to showcase yourself to coaches and get noticed.”