The soccer community lost a great ambassador of our sport, Rocco Amoroso, on Thursday, 5 May. Rocco was US Soccer Life Member and inductee of the Halls of Fame for the Long Island Junior Soccer League and the Eastern New York State Soccer Association. Rocco was also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nassau County Sports Commission for his volunteer and dedicated service.
Rocco Amoroso was an advocate for decades for the cause of sportsmanship in soccer in the United States. He developed the Sportsmanship Program of the Long Island Junior Soccer League in 1980, the first program of its kind not only in soccer but youth sports. Concerned with the lack of civility on the playing fields, Rocco saw it as a mission to develop mature teenagers and responsible citizens through the lessons of teamwork and Fair Play. The goal was to Build Character Through Soccer, a sentiment that comes from the Sportsmanship Program and continues to be the league’s slogan and mission statement to this day. Rocco’s Sportsmanship Program guidelines were adopted by Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association and the American Youth Soccer Organization. In addition, the principles of the program have been incorporated by leagues in Ireland and China. And the Rocco Amoroso Sportsmanship Cup is given annually to men and women teams by the Eastern New York State Soccer Association.
Rocco’s emphasis on sportsmanship changed the fabric of youth and adult soccer in New York, throughout the United States and indeed in other parts of the globe, for the good of the game and the development of the character of its players. An enthusiastic public speaker, Rocco gives speeches on sportsmanship throughout Eastern New York at the meetings of the diverse youth and amateur leagues, including annually at the Eastern New York State Soccer Association Annual General Meeting.
Rocco was instrumental for getting Region I to recognize sportsmanship in our game and the Fair Play Award is named in his honor.