Friday, 31 July 2009 00:00
The Long Island Junior Soccer League recently announced that Ryan DeBenedittis of Syosset will receive the LIJSL’s Frank Gorman Memorial Scholarship.
Frank Gorman was one of the LIJSL’s greatest players ever and arguably the top player on a Brentwood Arsenal team that included now longtime professional player Mike Petke. Frank not only strived for perfection, he achieved it! He starred at Brentwood High School in both soccer and track plus ran more than a 1,000 miles annually to be in top condition, then went on to play soccer at Hofstra. At the age of 26, he was working in life insurance and volunteering with Adelante, where he talked with kids about their future plans, when his life was tragically cut short on January 5, 2003. Frank and his brother John were walking across a Smithtown street when they were hit by a drunk driver. Thousands attended Frank’s wake and funeral as Newsday ran a headline on Page 2, “Everybody Loved Him.”
Ryan received the Frank Gorman Memorial Scholarship at a LIJSL luncheon this Sunday, July 19 at the Huntington Hilton. He will be attending Fordham University in the Bronx this fall.
At Syosset High School, Ryan was a member of the National Honor Society and the varsity soccer team, plus was honored as All-County in trombone. He helped elementary and middle school students for three years as a math tutor.
Ryan was the longtime team captain for the LIJSL’s Syosset Scorpions. He was their goalkeeper but then suffered a serious concussion at an indoor tournament at the age of 15 and had to switch to becoming a field player. As Scorpions’ coach Matt McElwee noted, “Even with this major injury, where many players would have said they were done, Ryan never quit. He worked hard to get to the point to where he is today—I give him all the credit in the world! It is difficult to learn a new position at that age, plus playing at such a high level (Division 1). The team would not be where it is today were it not for him.”