The Long Island Junior Soccer League has announced Jessica Lee has been selected 2020 recipient of the Marg McGory TOPSoccer Volunteer of the Year award.
The announcement came during the League’s general meeting Dec. 8. Due to ongoing COVID-19 pandemic protocols, the meeting was held virtually, the first general meeting to be conducted as such in the league’s 55-year existence.
“Very poised, great young lady, who gives her heart and soul to her community and to the TOPSoccer players there,” stated LIJSL managing director, Steve Padaetz said in a statement.
This recognition completes a remarkable 12-month period for Lee, named the TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year by Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association. That was followed, by US Youth Soccer naming her the East Region’s recipient, and then subsequently announced her selection as their National TOPSOCCER Buddy of the Year at a gala in Baltimore last January.
“I believe that all kids should have the same opportunities in life,” Lee told LIJSoccer.com. “TOPSoccer helps make that happen. Seeing the players every week and their faces full of excitement ready to play soccer never fails to put a smile on my face.”
After her family started West Hempstead’s program, Lee has been involved with the program for nine years. Playing since she was three, the 17-year-old Lee plays with the Garden City Park Shooting Stars, as well as on the varsity team at Kellenberg Memorial High School. She served as Kellenberg’s team’s captain this past fall season.
The league plans to recognize Lee in a private ceremony at the league offices during the early part of 2021 with her family in attendance.
The Outreach Program for Soccer (TOPSoccer) is a community-based program to give children and young adults with physical and/or intellectual disabilities the chance to step on the field. The program has been running through LIJSL for more than 40 years.
McGory, for whom the annual award is named, was a long-time advocate for those with Special Needs. Associated with the Archdiocese of Rockville Centre, she secured the Marydale field complex in Melville, N.Y. when the newly formed league program quickly outgrew its’ first home, the John Allen Developmental Center in Huntington.