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Reflections on the Super Y-League three years later
November 3, 2003

The Jersey Shore Boca soccer club accepted an invitation from the United Soccer Leagues back in January 2001 to join the USL’s elite youth soccer league – the Super Y-League. Three years later a Jersey Shore Boca coach looks back at his SYL experience, SYL players and more. Boca will compete in the nation’s top youth soccer league for the fourth straight year in 2004.
Reflections on the Super Y-League three years later

Jersey Shore Boca coach looks back at his SYL experience, SYL players and more

Special to
November 3, 2003

TOMS RIVER, NJ – The Jersey Shore Boca soccer club accepted an invitation from the United Soccer Leagues back in January 2001 to join the USL’s elite youth soccer league – the Super Y-League.

The Super Y-League which began in 1999, is the only North American youth league designed for the top one percent of elite youth soccer players in the United States and Canada.

As a national affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation, the Super Y-League provides the national league structure to develop players and helps identify elite players for the US National Team programs through ODP status events such as the SYL Finals and Regional Select Team identification weekends.

In 2004 Jersey Shore Boca will again be competing for the fourth straight year in the Super Y-League.

Boca now has some SYL history to determine if the club’s time, effort and financial resources were well spent.

Walt Konopka coached the Boca U18 SYL team during their inaugural season in 2001 and then the Boca U17 SYL team in 2002. Konopka holds USSF coaching and referee licenses and has been a volunteer member of the Jersey Shore Boca board of directors for several years. He is also a member of the USSF National Budget Committee and has worked in the front office of Major League Soccer since the inception of MLS in 1996.

Coach Konopka reflects back on his Super Y-League experiences and how some his Boca players have benefited from the SYL during a short question and answer session on – Looking back to 2001, what would you say is the one item that stands out the most with respect to Boca’s initial participation in the Super Y-League?

Coach Konopka – “I believe the Super Y-League is without any doubt, the most competitive youth soccer league in this country. I was very excited, extremely excited, when the United Soccer Leagues recognized our club’s overall history and accomplishments and invited us to join the SYL back in 2001. I’m very proud to say that I have been a part of the early years of the league.” – How was the level of SYL competition during your two years of coaching?

Coach Konopka – “The competition was some of the best I’ve experienced as a coach. The rosters of the teams we faced included some of the best young soccer players on the East Coast and maybe even the nation.” – Describe your team’s most memorable experiences during the 2001 and 2002 seasons?

Coach Konopka – “In my first year (2001), I would have to say one of the most memorable and favorable experiences for the Boca U18s would have to be our trip to Harrisburg PA. We traveled during tropical storm “Allison” to take on powerhouse Super Nova FC, one of the top programs in the United States at the time. The boys played their hearts out that day and came away with a 3-1 win under some very difficult conditions. I believe the entire team knew after this game that the intensity of the competition in the SYL was like no other and that they had to work hard everyday to improve if they wanted to play at the next level.”

“In 2002, our trip to Washington DC to take on the DC United U17s in their first ever SYL game was by far, the most memorable event for the 2002 SYL season for me. Although we lost the game 3-0, the atmosphere, spectators and sidelines packed with scouts and college coaches was unbelievable. Our boys turned it up a level or two as the game went on. We hit the post twice and had some other chances. I believe the team knew that they gave the “class of the league” a run for their money that day.” – What were your team’s overall records for the two years?

Coach Konopka – “In 2001 the Boca U18s finished with a very respectable 6-6-0 record. In 2002, the Boca U17s finished-up with an overall record of 4-7-1, but some games were very close and could have gone either way. Regardless of the wins and losses, I think just the fact we were able to provide our players this level of competition was tremendous toward their overall development.” – Do you think your players benefited from their experiences in the SYL?

Coach Konopka – “Any player who participated with us in the SYL received a taste of not only what it’s like to play at the next level but what it will take to get there. Those players who had that desire to succeed within them took their SYL experience, along with a lot of individual dedication, and worked hard to continue their playing careers at the collegiate level. From the two SYL teams that I had the pleasure to coach, 15 players are currently making significant contributions in NCAA intercollegiate athletics at their respective schools. I believe all of them benefited tremendously by participating in the SYL. I am very proud of all of them.” – Looking back, what would you have changed if anything, in Boca’s SYL experience if you could do it all over again?

Coach Konopka – “Looking back, I regret not being involved with the SYL from the league’s first year at all age levels. It would have benefited more of our players at an earlier age.” – In your opinion, what does the future hold for the SYL?

Coach Konopka – “I believe the next generation of elite soccer players in the US will come from the ranks of the Super Y-League. The league has tremendous potential and has made significant strides over the past few years to accomplish this. They have all the right programs in place. It’s only a matter of time until the SYL will be the regular training ground for all of our youth national team selections.”

Jersey Shore Boca will compete in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United Soccer Leagues elite Super Y-League for the fourth straight year in 2004.

Boca is the only soccer club from Monmouth and Ocean County NJ that has been a member of the Super Y-League. The club plans to field at least five boys teams for the 2004 SYL season; U-13s, U-14s, U-15s, U-16s and U-17s. Boca is also considering placing U-19 team in the SYL as well.

Tryouts for the Boca 2004 SYL teams will be announced at a future date.

Jersey Shore Boca has been a fixture in the soccer community since 1978 and is one of the most respected soccer clubs in New Jersey. The club is celebrating their 25-year anniversary in 2003.

Jersey Shore Boca is also the newest member of the USL’s Premier Development League and began play with their PDL side in the summer of 2003. The Premier Development League is the top national men’s U-23 amateur league in the country.

For more information about Jersey Shore Boca or any of the 2004 Boca Super Y-League teams, visit the club’s official website at

For more information about the Super Y-League, visit the SYL’s official national website at