The 35th annual Long Island Junior Soccer League convention will be held at the Huntington Hilton in Melville, N.Y. from March 3-5.

With 10,000 soccer fans expected to attend, it will be the largest soccer convention in the eastern United States during 2017.

The event begins Friday, March 3 at 7 p.m. with the annual awards dinner as the volunteer of the year from each LIJSL club will be honored.

Oceanside United’s Michael D’Ambrosio, John Deutsch of the East Islip Soccer Club, Cora Fitzgerald of the Terryville Soccer Club plus the Plainedge Soccer Club’s Joe Karam also will be inducted into the LIJSL Hall of Fame that evening.

At Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Salon D, the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame will honor the Long Island Lady Rough Riders national championship teams of 1995 and 1997. This year’s inductees are Caitlin Connolly, Kim Conway, Dina Grossman-Case, Laura Martin, Tracy Sofsian, Gina Tucker and Christie Welsh. To register for the dinner, log on to

Although there is a fee for attending both dinners, admission to the rest of the LIJSL convention is free. Throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, there will be LIJSL sportsmanship award presentations, meetings for club presidents, coaches and volunteers plus coaches and referee clinics as thousands of people purchase soccer items. Highlights include:

• National Soccer Coaches Association of America 4v4 Course, a three-hour course designed for those who will be coaching youth soccer players from 4 to 10 years of age. Click here for registration:

• NSCAA Goalkeeper Level 1 Diploma Course which will explore some of the myths and mystiques surrounding the last line of defense. Click here for registration:

• A bilingual College Forum (English/Spanish) for high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors. The panel will talk about what every parent and player needs to know, including NCAA requirements, financial aid packages plus picking the college that’s right for you!

• American Red Cross CPR/AED training

• Soccer cleat, balls and uniform collection for needy children

• Soccer games free-of-charge for Under-9 to Under-12 LIJSL teams all weekend (weather-permitting) in the Cosmos Inflatable Soccer Field, outside on the tennis court. To register:

“What’s new this year is that our vendors can purchase a extra package from the league where we are sending out their flyers to our members a few times prior to the convention. It’s an extra way to advertise their booth and whatever goods or services they will have at the convention. We are getting an overwhelming response to the promotion,“ convention chairperson Holly Maresco said.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at