The East Hudson Youth Soccer League Dinner of Champions is a July tradition in the Hudson Valley, dating back almost all the way to the league’s founding four decades ago.
On July 10 and 11 at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor, N.Y. the EHYSL honored 40 division champions and its four scholarship recipients. Each coach praised his or her team and introduced the players. Almost 1,000 players, coaches and family members attended the event.
The league has distributed the Michael Goldberg Scholarship Awards for more than a quarter-century in memory of a young EHYSL player who passed away prematurely. Kezia Lovell and Olivia Racetta were honored as this year’s recipients.
Lovell played for the Poughkeepsie Phoenix for six years, winning multiple league championships, as well as playing for the Arlington High School varsity team. She has been a solid contributor to the school and the community, serving as a committee member and co-president of the Diversity Club, working with kids at the Valley Christian Church and volunteering at the Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital as well as other community organizations. Lovell achieved a cumulative grade-point average of 99 and is ranked 134 of 848 classmates at Arlington H.S. This fall she will enter the nursing program at Adelphi University.
Over the course of her high school career, Racetta played for the Liberty United Red Devils as well as Liberty’s High School varsity team, serving as team captain for two years. She played four varsity sports, was a significant contributor and award winner in the school chorus and served four years in student government as the treasurer. Racetta won multiple academic and scholastic awards, including twice receiving the Outstanding School Citizen Award. With a cumulative GPA of 100 and a class rank of second, she will be attend Ohio State University this fall.
The Dan Herbst Scholarship Awards has been given for more than 15 years in memory of Dan Herbst, who was an EHYSL past president, a devoted contributor to the Yorktown Youth Soccer Club and a soccer journalist. Chloe Antalek and Leah Thoma received the Dan Herbst Award in 2018.
Anatlek, who attended Beacon High School, has been a solid competitor and contributor to EHYSL, playing for the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association ODP team and the East Hudson Academy team for five years as well as for club team East Fishkill Fire. She is Beacon H.S.’s leading scorer, senior captain and all-league Select. Anatlek has served the soccer community by volunteering to train inner-city kids at the Newburgh Armory, participating in the Relay for Life “Kick ‘in Cancer” campaign and working with Beacon’s younger girls soccer programs. She is a member of the National Honor Society member and Beacon H.S. Honor Roll, had a GPA of 93 percent and will enter Nyack College this fall.
Thoma has played and coached for the East Fishkill Soccer Club for more than 10 years and played for John Jay H.S., serving as team captain. Although not being able to physically play in her junior year and senior years, Thoma still attended team events. She is a NYSPHSAA Scholar/Athlete Award winner for scholastic and athletic accomplishments. She was the president of the Renaissance Club, a peer mentor and a member of the Math and History Honor Society as well as the National Honor Society. She has been called an “Ambassador for John Jay High School.” With a GPA of 97 and a class rank in the top 10 percent, Thomas will attend Illinois Wesleyan University in the fall.
“All four scholarship recipients were outstanding local players and have demonstrated exemplary academic and scholastic success during their four years of high school,” EHYSL president Jim Purdy said.