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December 9, 2012
New Hyde Park's Dempsey inducted into ENY Hall

Willie Dempsey (left), who was inducted into the ENY Hall of Fame, and LISFL president  Gus Xikis.
Willie Dempsey (left), who was inducted into the ENY Hall of Fame, and LISFL president Gus Xikis.
Photo courtesy of Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
New Hyde Park, N.Y. resident Willie Dempsey was inducted into the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame at a Holiday Party at Lido Restaurant on City Island on Dec. 1.

The Hall is a collaboration between Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association and Eastern New York Amateur Soccer Association.

Dempsey was hired for his involvement with the New York Irish Rovers amateur soccer club for the past three decades.

“His club is the second winningest club in the league after only Glen Cove,” Long Island Soccer Football League president Gus Xikis said.

The LISFL nominated Willie for the Eastern New York Hall of Fame after naming him a life member at its annual awards dinner last June.

Dempsey started playing soccer at age five in County Longford, Ireland where he grew up as the second youngest of two brothers and nine sisters –– all of whom played soccer. His 10 siblings and he could have formed their own family soccer team. He came to the United States at age 17 in May 1985 to stay with an aunt for the summer. He never left, and never missed an opportunity to play soccer.

“I landed on a Friday and I played my first game for the Rovers on a Sunday,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey, who has played defender throughout his career, won 10 ENYSASA championships, 20 LISFL championships, 24 Long Island Cups as a player and coach for the Irish Rovers. Rover teams have also won six LISFL Sportsmanship Awards too.

At age 46, he still plays on the Rovers reserve team.

“I love getting out on a Sunday and putting the boots on,” he said.

Dempsey became reserve coach in 1989 and first team coach in 1993. He won the Reserve League Cup for three consecutive years. He has been president of the Irish Rovers since 1997 and is the LISFL’s third vice president.

“Soccer’s been my life and it’ll always be my life as long as I’m able to get up and do it,” Dempsey said.
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