Yuri Fishman has just about done it all in soccer. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
QUEENS, N.Y. — You name the level of soccer and Yuri Fishman probably has been involved in it — as a player, coach and administrator.
Youth, high school, college, amateur, semi-pro and international.
The Massapequa, N.Y. resident has devoted his life to the beautiful game, and he was rewarded by his induction into the Eastern New York State Soccer Hall of Fame at the organization’s Christmas party and Hall of Fame dinner at Verdi’s last Sunday.
While many area soccer observers know Fishman’s affiliation with the Long Island Soccer Football League and the Massapequa Soccer Club, they might not realize his roots in the beautiful game began as a player.
He was born in the old Soviet Union, playing for Dinamo Kiev and earned a spot on its reserve team when he was 16. After emigrating to the United States, Fishman played two years at Hall High School in Connecticut, connecting for 95 goals and earning National Soccer Coaches Association of America and Parade All-America honors.
Fishman attended Princeton University, and was a three-time All-Ivy League selection and All-American and is the men’s program’s second all-time leading goal-scoring with 40 goals.
“I have been really fortunate to be a part of some really good teams, so I want to thank my teammates and coaches,” Fishman said before naming his coaches from youth to Over-30 teams. “Really, really they shaped me.”
He continued his playing career with the Bergen Kickers and Hartford Portuguese before adding the coaching and administrative parts of the game to his resume as coach of the Connecticut Under-16 ODP team and then in the same capacity with the Massapequa S.C. Fishman also wears the hat of club president, also praised the club and its members.
Internationally, Fishman represented the U.S. at the World and Pan-American Maccabi Games, earning a silver medal at the 1981 World Games and a bronze medal at the 1987 Pan-Am Games. As a coach, his team won the sportsmanship award at the 2013 World Games.
He played on teams that was coached by Al Albert, which included former pro players Jeff Agoos, Ronnie Schneider and Alan Bodenstein and soccer coaches Seth Roland and Lenny Roitman.
“It was a really a great honor in a U.S. jersey with them on the field,” Fishman said. “Certainly without them it wouldn’t be possible with me being here.”
Fishman still has been active on the field as player-coach with the Massapequa Reunited O-30 squad, winning several LISFL and State Cup titles and reaching the national O-30 tournament’s Sweet 16.
With the LISFL, Fishman has served as a trustee and scheduling secretary.
“A group of dedicated people who do this for the love of the game with an occasional trip to a diner. That’s all we get. Without you, it really would not be possible for me to be here today.”
Fishman also thanked his family, his wife Helen, and children.
“So, the Bodensteins, thank you for bribing me with a cheesecake to join your family and welcoming me to your family,” he said.