Steve LaRosa died from Coronavirus. (Photo courtesy of ENYYSA)

Eastern New York Hall of Famer Steve LaRosa, who directed the state youth association during several years of great growth in the seventies, died from Coronavirus (COVID-19) earlier this week.

He was 78.

In 1976, LaRosa became the second president of Southern New York Youth Soccer Association, the predecessor of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association.

He served until 1978 when he was succeeded by Ivor Foster. There was great expansion at the start of the youth soccer boom during LaRosa’s one term in office as clubs from Long Island to the Canadian border were admitted. With the state youth soccer association going “from Montauk to Massena,” the term Southern New York was no longer appropriate, so the name was changed to Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association in 1982.

“Steve was a pioneer, a tireless worker, a good mentor to me and he was always there whenever I needed him,” said former ENYYSA president Howard Rubenstein, who nominated LaRosa for Hall of Fame induction in 2014. Besides the State, he also did a lot for the Region and for the development of girls soccer.”

LaRosa was a prominent figure in youth soccer who helped grow the sport when it was not nearly as popular as it is today. The Southern New York Youth Soccer Association, the predecessor to ENYYSA, was founded in 1972 by George Donnelly and Enzo Magnozzi. Tony Perez became the first president.

LaRosa was active as a coach for the Long Island women’s team that competed in the Empire State Games and in the old Massapequa Athletic Club of the Long Island Junior Soccer League.

The Great River, N.Y. resident also was one of seven head coaches that the Adelphi University women have known during the four decades of the program’s existence.