The Buffalo and Western New York Junior Soccer League regularly honors individuals and member clubs for their outstanding contributions to the benefit of the thousands of girls and boys who participate on teams in the league and the Det Enseleit Award is presented on a yearly basis to recipients who embody the spirit of Mr. Enseleit, a coach of the Newfane Soccer Club, and embrace his belief that helping all children, regardless of ability, to enjoy the game is the true spirit of youth soccer.
“When OJ agreed to coach our U10 girls’ team, I’m not sure he really knew what he was getting into,” says BSC Program Director, Anna-Lesa Calvert. “But I do know that he believed in giving young players in the City of Buffalo the opportunity to participate in the sport of soccer. I’ll be honest, BSC is often still searching for players well past the time that most travel teams have rosters and are playing in games, so when OJ agreed in January to coach the team, he actually only had five players who were committed to playing, including his own daughter. Over the next few months we were able to recruit an additional six players for a final roster of 11 young ladies, most of whom had not played soccer before. OJ took this challenge head on and relished the fun and excitement of teaching novice soccer players the skills of the game and the values of the sport.”
At the beginning of the season, BSC players were only required to attend one practice a week and play in a weekly game on Friday nights. Coach McFoy didn’t believe this time commitment was enough for those players who needed to gain the extra skills necessary to compete with their peers on other teams so, after speaking with Ms. Calvert, he instituted a voluntary additional practice each week which, thanks to his positive attitude and demeanor with his players, the U10 girls consistently attended throughout the season. The girls improved greatly, winning several games against players with more experience. McFoy was also able to encourage several players to try out for Empire United,a program that services players throughout Central and Western New York who have higher aspirations in soccer, beyond the youth level. His coaching and encouragement gave these players the confidence to try playing at a higher level, a decision that will challenge them to become better athletes.
“I cannot think of another person who so truly encompasses the ideals of the Det Enseleit Award,” says Ms. Calvert. “OJ always keeps the best interest of his individual players first and foremost. Without a doubt he coached all of his players equally, without regard for their athletic abilities, and taught each player to enjoy the game of soccer and all the values that sports can provide.”