The 29 LIJSL scholarship winners. (Photo courtesy of LIJSL/ENYYSA)

The Long Island Junior Soccer League recently honored 29 scholarship recipients, selected based on academic and athletic excellence plus community service.

They were feted by the league at a Sunday brunch at the Huntington Hilton.

The scholarshi program began in the early 1980’s when one boy and one girl each received a scholarship and it has grown just as soccer continues to grow in the United States. New this year are the Rocco Amoroso Sportsmanship Award Scholarship, the Sean Urda Memorial Scholarship plus the Frank and Michael Vertullo Foundation Scholarships.

Amoroso, a U.S. Soccer Life Member plus Eastern New York and LIJSL Hall of Famer, started the LIJSL Sportsmanship Program in 1980 and it was copied throughout the United States as well as Ireland and China. Urda, a National Honor Society member, was a LIJSL player in his senior year at John Glenn High School in 2015 when he was killed in a sledding accident. The Vertullo Foundation Scholarships are awarded to teens helping people with special needs.

The recipients:

* Brian Killian attending Binghamton University, Rocco Amoroso Sportsmanship Award Scholarship

* Daniel Sparkowski attending Morrisville State College, Sean Urda Memorial Scholarship

* Keara Brown attending Suffolk Community College, Frank and Michael Vertullo Foundation Scholarships

* Victoria Thurer attending Oneonta State, Frank and Michael Vertullo Foundation Scholarships

* Maria Aruanna attending St. Joseph’s College, Peter C. Collins Presidential Scholarship

* Emma Pinezich attending the University of Vermont, Addie Mattei-Iaia Presidential Scholarship

* Emily Jonas attending Gardner-Webb University, Pat Grecco Scholarship

* Steven Libretti attending the University of New Haven, Eurosport Scholarship

* Kiara Birch attending Adelphi University, Bobbie Marks Memorial Scholarship

* Jillian Colucci attending Marist College, Bobbie Marks Memorial Scholarship

* Maya Voytelmgum attending Stony Brook University, Bobbie Marks Memorial Scholarship

* Erica Viscovich attending George Washington University, Eileen Frazita Memorial Scholarship

* Jordan Anderson attending Ohio State, Joseph Lombardo Memorial Scholarship

* Sean Madden attending Mount St. Mary’s College, Michael Scarpati Memorial Scholarship

* Matthew Sloan attending American University, Matthew Scarpati Memorial Scholarship

* John Bingham attending Notre Dame, Miles For Matt Foundation Scholarship

* Dylan Hupert attending Arizona State University, Miles For Matt Foundation Scholarship

* Michael Maceluch attending Binghamton University, Miles For Matt Foundation Scholarship

* Claudia Urquiza attending Nassau Community College, Carolyn Page Memorial Scholarship

* Malena Farber attending Drexel University, Sandra Atlas Bass Scholarship

* Amanda Spitaleri attending Bryant University, Dalia Morelli Memorial Scholarship

* Rose Savocchi attending Wake Forest University, Frank Gorman Memorial Scholarship

* Kristen Shine attending Farmingdale State College, John Pinezich Memorial Scholarship

* Blake Aronson attending Marist College, Michael Secko Memorial Scholarship

* Daniel Urli attending Georgia Tech, Jonathan Marc Serota Memorial Scholarship

* Sean Walsh attending Kean University, Modell’s Scholarship
* Suzanne Espey attending Cortland State, George Hoffman TOPSoccer Volunteer Scholarship

* Justin Tollin attending the University of South Carolina, George Hoffman TOPSoccer Volunteer Scholarship

* Shelbi Wuss attending American University, Modell’s TOPSoccer Volunteer Scholarship

LIJSL scholarship chairperson Lynn Scarpati addressed the scholarship winners.

“You put in a lot of hard work to be here,” she said. “Life is not always fair but we know that you know how to transform lemons into lemonades.”