The Long Island Soccer Football League was formed in 1948 when a group of men decided the time was ripe for the world’s favorite sport to find a home on Long Island.
The man with the vision was its founder Karl A. Weber. But as with any other venture no one man can accomplish anything worthwhile. Karl Webber, as founder and president, needed people of like mind to work with him to make his dream a reality.
He got help in the form of George Loeshner - Vice President, Walter Fritsch - Secretary and Arnold V. Boyance - Treasurer; Henry A. Shapiro was used as the legal counsel for the league.
The roots of the league can be traced back to the end of World War II in 1945 as returning GI’s from Europe and players graduating from college and high school, needing some form of group recreation. People of varying background were moving east from New York City and wanting to play their favorite sport, the time was right for the development of soccer on Long Island.
In 1947 exhibition games were played weekly by two pioneer clubs, Franklin Square Neon’s and Great Neck S.C.; they played against and won games against such N.Y. powerhouses as German-Hungarians, New World Club, Congers Rangers, NY Ukrainians and All-Star teams. Eventually clubs like Grumman S.C., and Hempstead Outdoor S.C. started playing weekly exhibition games.
To advertise the existence of our new league, the LISFL, clinics were held in schools and meeting halls, under direction of USSF Hall of Famer Peter Renzulli, these proved a huge success.
Eventually more clubs joined the league, Sea Cliff S.C. formerly Nassau F.C. Flushing Holland S.C. Rockville Centre S.C., Hempstead S.C., Glen Cove S.C., Huntington Kickers and Patchogue S.C. who had a team in the German-American League now known as the Cosmopolitan Soccer League from 1929 to 1937, they transferred their membership to LISFL in 1954.
LISFL the first organized soccer league on Long Island heralded the rebirth of soccer on Long Island; and by 1959 the league had grown to two ten-team divisions and eventually added Reserve, Junior, O-30 teams and a Ladies division.
During the mid 60s the officers of the LISFL were instrumental in laying the groundwork for the present Long Island Junior Soccer League. After numerous false starts, the seed took root and the growth of the LIJSL has been constant; and they became an independent entity that has been very successful. The LIJSL has been instrumental in developing many top class players, including Chris Armas who played in the MLS and has represented the USA on many occasions.
The senior soccer league continued to grow at a more modest rate during the seventies to the present time. It now supports six competitive divisions of open soccer and two men’s Over-30 divisions and U-23, 0-40.
The teams from our league have become a respected force; the numerous State Cups that has been won by teams from our league over the years can attest this fact. Huntington S.C. in 1965 won the Dr. Manning Cup. To prove it was not a fluke, it was followed, by Forest Park 1980, 2003, Cow Harbor 1987, Hicksville Americans 1988, Glen Cove 1990, 1993, Farmingville in 1994, Real Caribe in 1995, Integral Kings 1998, Oceanside 1999, NYI Rovers 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005 Mineola Portuguese in 1981,2011 doing the same, The league clubs continued to leave their mark on the soccer scene, taking many major trophies. Patchogue S.C. in 1960 at St. Louis, MO. a finalist in the National Amateur Cup, after becoming Eastern U.S. Champion. In 1984 Lynbrook Steuben defeated Tulsa Oklahoma Shooting Stars to become National Champions in the men’s Over-30 class. Our over 30 clubs won the Marth State Cup 16 years in a row. Dr. Manning Cup 17 times, Heidecker/D’Arpino Cup 20 times, Marth Cup 16 times in a row, Flamhaft Cup 16 times 12 in a row and in 2010 NY Hota won the first ever O-40 Amoroso Cup followed by NY Polonia in 2011, 2012 a total of 88 State Cups. Success also in the US Open Cup OB Fenerbache USA made it to the Regional semi-final. In the USASA U-23 in 2012 Real Caribe became the National Champions
History is time and people. On this, our 65th Anniversary it would be remiss not to mention the people who guided us through the years to present day stability. The members are thankful and proud of the men who gave and give of their time, effort and patience through the years to lead the LISFL. Our presidents, starting with Karl A Weber 1948-49, Walter Fritsch 1950-51, Fred J Edwards 1951-60, Leif Thiede 1961-62, John McKim 1962-65, Art Leseberg 1965-66, Pat Ryder 1966-75, Victor Mevo 1976-78, Joe Rietschlin 1978-83, also 1984-92, Luigi Pelini 1983-84, and Tony Cangero 1992 to 2004. Bruce Friedman 2004 -2011 Gus Xikis 2011 to current.