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West Hempstead teen awarded by TOPSoccer


West Hempstead teen Jessica Lee was named as the 2020 recipient of the Marg McGory TOPSoccer Volunteer of the Year award on Dec. 8. Lee received the award from the Long Island Junior Soccer League, the largest league in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association.

This recognition completes an amazing year for Lee, 17, who was first named the TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year by ENYYSA at the group’s Holiday Party in December 2019. That was followed by being named the East Region TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year, and then the US Youth Soccer National TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year at a gala held in Baltimore in January 2020.

TOPSoccer, The Outreach Program for Soccer, is a community-based program to give children and young adults with physical and/or intellectual challenges the chance to play soccer.

“I believe that all kids should have the same opportunities in life,” Lee said in a news release. “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 the West Hempstead Chiefs’ program, Lee has been involved with the program for nine years. Playing since she was three, she now plays with the LIJSL’s Garden City Park Shooting Stars, as well as on the varsity team at Kellenberg Memorial High School, in Uniondale. She served as Kellenberg’s team captain this past fall season.

“Very poised, great young lady who gives her heart and soul to her community and to the TOPSoccer players there,” said Steve Padaetz, the league’s managing director.

The LIJSL plans to recognize Jessica in a private ceremony at the league offices in Ronkonkoma sometime this year with her family in attendance.

Courtesy Long Island Junior Soccer League; compiled by Nakeem Grant