Supporting a worthy cause

Floral Park's inaugural charity soccer tournament is a success


With children stuck at home for most of the past year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Elmont Memorial High School Assistant Principal Dayna Sotirhos sought to find a way to keep children active while supporting a cause. Sotirhos, who is also an intramural coordinator for the Floral Park Soccer Club, said that the club was successful in its fall and spring season, but she wanted to end the current season with a fun, charitable event.

“With everything’s that’s going on with Covid, we wanted to give the children an opportunity to participate in a fun day,” Sotirhos said. “I feel for the elementary school kids, because at one point, most of them only met each other on the field.”

She and her husband, Matt, who is also an intramural coordinator for the soccer club, decided to host an inaugural charity tournament last Sunday at Floral Park Bellerose School, just north of Elmont. The event raised more than $2,800, and all proceeds will go to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a nonprofit on Staten Island that aims to build mortgage-free “smart” homes for injured veterans and first responders. In addition, children who took part in the tournament donated nonperishable food to Our Lady of Victory Church food pantry in Floral Park to support those in need.

“It was great work by our referees, volunteers and our intramural coordinators Dayna and Matt Sotirhos for making this event happen,” the club stated in a Facebook post. “And of course, a wonderful job to all our players and their families.”

The tournament included raffle prizes, carnival-themed treats like cotton candy and popcorn, and T-shirts for sale. Elmont High’s Key Club students earned community service hours by working at the event.

“It always feels good to give back to others,” Sotirhos said. “We wanted everyone to have that positive feeling of giving back in a time of need. This charity tournament gave children the opportunity to connect with others in their community.”

She also thanked Floral Park School District Superintendent Dr. Kathy Sottile for helping the club with the event. “She went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we needed to make the event happen at Floral Park Bellerose School,” Sotirhos said of Sottile, “and has been a constant source of support for the Floral Park Soccer Club.”

While this was the first charity tournament for the club, it hopes to maintain the momentum of supporting others going forward. “We’re happy that the Floral Park soccer program and their families can support such worthy causes to help our fallen heroes and struggling families in their time of need,” club President Steve McCaffrey said.