The Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) has announced that Eddie Gamarra has been inducted into the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame.
His induction took place at the organization's holiday party
last weekend at Marina del Rey in the Bronx. The New Dorp resident was also honored as Eastern New York's Personality of the Month in November 2014 and inducted into the Staten Island Youth Soccer League (SIYSL) Hall of Fame in 2009.
Gamarra has been involved in soccer his entire life. He played the world's most popular sport while growing up in Lima, Peru, and competed for the youth team of renowned club Alianza Lima as a teenager.
Enthusiasm for sports
runs in his family as Eddie's father was a championship Pan American Games
athlete, his mother was a big basketball fan and his older brother, Galo, was a Senior PGA Pro.
Eddie immigrated to the United States in 1965 and has lived in New Dorp for the past 46 years. In 1980, his wife Peggy learned that Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish was looking to start a soccer program and urged Eddie to apply.
Without much convincing, Eddie co-founded the soccer program with Sal Parello and the OLQP Blue Jays were born. His children -- Eddie Jr., Mark and Matthew --all played for the program.
Eddie has served as the soccer program's president since that time before retiring this year with a six-year hiatus from
1988 to 1994. Eddie developed OLQP into a model program and has coached many teams, both boys
and girls squads, through the years. Currently, hundreds of children proudly wear their blue and gold soccer uniforms while playing at Miller Field.
The now 72-year-old enjoys the fun-filled times with the club as it grew into a family and he has developed lifelong friends. The annual club soccer dance has become a favorite event and always ends with the crowd clamoring for "One more hour!" and Eddie joyfully complying, convincing the DJ to continue the fun.
"Eddie's generosity is seen throughout the parish as he always finds a discreet way to cover the cost for a struggling family that can't afford the fees. This generosity and commitment was recognized when he was honored with the Heroes and Heroines award, a program that honors local residents for their outstanding work in the community," commented SIYSL President Bill Smith.
Eddie has served in various positions for the SIYSL, including vice president. He now enjoys coaching the children of the players he once coached and is grateful for all the support he has received over the years.