Joe Goldberg Passes Away

By David Harris

Joe Goldberg, co-founder of Oceanside United Soccer Club and long-time member of the LISFL passed away yesterday. LISFL President Gus Xikis had the following to say about Joe Goldberg’s death, "I am saddened to report to you that Joe Goldberg passed away yesterday and was buried today. Joe Goldberg served for many years as the LISFL Secretary, ran the indoor tournament, and held many other positions in the league. He was also a life member in the LISFL, ENYSSA, ENYSSA HOF  and CJSL. The indoor tournament was named after him, and will now be known as the "Joe Goldberg Memorial Tournament". Good Bye Joe, rest in peace."

LISFL Board Member Syd Crossley wrote the following about Joe from a dinner held in his honor, "While many of the tributes to Joe made reference to his outspoken nature and feisty temperament, all agreed and praised his lifetime devotion and promotion of soccer in the USA. Joe has been involved in soccer on Long Island since the 1950’s, as a player, as a referee, as a coach and as an administrator. Joe founded the Oceanside United Soccer Club, and is a Life Member of both the LISFL and the ENYSSA. He is also a member of the Eastern NY Soccer Hall of Fame. While the members of the LISFL will miss Joe, his guidance and sensibility, it’s a fairly good bet that players on some soccer field in Connecticut will soon receive the benefit of his years of experience. They would do well to heed his advice on the first time of asking!"

Michael Lewis from Big Apple Soccer wrote this article about Joe’s death and posted an article that he’d written at the time of the celebration dinner for Joe.

Oceanside United Soccer Club issued the following statement:

"It is with great sadness that I must inform everyone of Joe Goldberg’s passing earlier today. While we do not have any details at this time, as soon as we know any information, we will keep you all informed.
The Oceanside United Soccer Club was formed in 1962 as a single team of 15 boys. It was co-founded by Ian McDougall and Joe Goldberg, both lifetime members of our Club’s Board of Directors. This team began play in the German-American league. Today that league is known as the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL). At that time, OUSC was the only Nassau County, Long Island team represented in the league. Joe was also elected into both the LIJSL and Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame.
Joe was a legend in the sport and touched many of us over the years. Without the likes of Joe, OUSC would not be the Club it has become over the past 50 years."

Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations for Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association issued the following statement:

"When Joe Goldberg and Ian McDougall founded the Oceanside United Soccer Club in 1962, orange and blue were chosen as the colors of the new club. Not because they are the colors of the New York Mets that started play that year but because orange and blue are the colors of Nassau County and Oceanside United was the first youth soccer club in the county and indeed in all of Long Island. The founding of the club led to the great youth soccer boom on the island and eventually made the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) the world’s largest soccer league.

The local soccer community is mourning the loss of Goldberg who passed away on Monday at age 85. During a very colorful life, he was seemingly involved in every aspect of local soccer since the 1950’s. After coming to New York, the native of what was Czechoslovakia became a soccer administrator, coach, referee, one of the founders of Soccer Week, the weekly publication that gave the sports’ supporters information about the beautiful game before the start of the Internet, among many other roles and responsibilities.

Joe was inducted into the Halls of Fame of the LIJSL, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Eastern New York State Amateur Soccer Association plus was honored as a Life Member of the Long Island Soccer Football League (LISFL) and Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League (CJSL) for all his volunteering. The LISFL also named their winter indoor tournament after him. He and his wife Miriam lived in Oceanside for 52 years before moving to Connecticut in 2010 to be closer to family. Joe was lauded by many at his retirement dinner at the Oceanside Jewish Center that year.

Speaking for many of the former Oceanside United players––more than a dozen showed up for the dinner––Ron Atanasio remembered how he met Goldberg as he was at Oceanside Junior High School watching boys play soccer. Ron wound up starring at Adelphi University and as a first-round draft pick of the New York Cosmos, enjoying a 10-year professional career.

“These two gentlemen gave me an opportunity to excel in the sport I love,” Atanasio said of Goldberg and McDougall. “I can truly tell you this is a unique man. Without the opportunity you had given me, I probably wouldn’t be playing soccer.”

“Joe was always about the kids,” said Mike D’Ambrosio, the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association’s registrar. “For Joe, it’s the number of people’s lives who he touched. He gave them a place to play. Joe would pick you up in his van, feed you and bring you home.”

Goldberg did it all, from buying the uniforms––which were used over and over again by several teams to save money––to washing them.

Oceanside United’s Jim Volpe played for Goldberg on the Oceanside men’s team and then served on Oceanside’s Board of Directors with him for many years. He stated, “Joe wasn’t afraid to be different or think out of the box. You could disagree with him but he never held a grudge.”

Oceanside United was founded four years before the LIJSL came into existence so it originally played in what is today the CJSL. The league’s Ben Boehm said, “Joe was like a tornado. A number of us had arguments with him. But he knew what he wanted to do. He willed Oceanside United into existence.”

“Just going down into Joe’s basement was like visiting a soccer museum,” Volpe added. “Everybody who played soccer on Long Island for the past 50 years owes Joe a debt of gratitude. He got the whole thing going. I’m really going to miss him!”

We have lost a very good man. May he rest in peace."