For the past 36 years, the club has hosted a huge summer tournament, welcoming thousands of players, who compete on various fields across Long Island, including the Field of Dreams. This year’s tournament will be held in August, and Schwartz said he is hopeful that the work will be completed before then, if not sooner. “They’ve been our crown jewel for all these years,” he said of the fields. “Now we’re hoping they’ll shine even brighter.”
In 2011, the tournament was canceled because of Tropical Storm Irene. Legally, Schwartz said, the club could have kept the entry fees that had already been collected, but instead it refunded every penny to all 450 teams. “We felt it was the right thing to do for the families who support our events,” he said. “If not for the huge losses due to that storm, we probably would have enough money to put turf on both fields now.”
Schwartz credited the club’s vice presidents, Steve Epstein and Tom Alio, and the rest of the board, for their work on making this project come to fruition. But major credit, he said, also goes to Stanley Ruppenthal, a Nassau County police officer and a club president for 10 years who died suddenly in November 2012. In the near future, Schwartz said, the Field of Dreams will be renamed the Stan Ruppenthal Soccer Complex. “Stan was absolutely the driving force in getting the fields open way back more than 15 years ago,” he said.