History of Youth Sports in Brooklyn

SFX Youth Sports has provided sports programs to the Brooklyn community for nearly 50 years. The spirit of offering youth sports to the community began in 1904, when the original St. Francis Xavier Church building on Sixth Avenue and Carroll Street was moved by horses and tree trunks to President Street. The early years saw city-wide CYO basketball tournaments held at the Lyceum, with the largest held in the 1950s named for Jerry Reilly. The New York Golden Gloves tournaments were also held at the Lyceum, and the parish sponsored a girls’ basketball team in the 1960s under the old rules of half-court play.

Baseball & Softball

In 1968, two parishioners (Jack Murphy & Al Leonard) started SFX Youth Baseball for their young sons and their friends. The original teams were named after American Indian tribes: Apaches, Oneidas, Senecas, Mohawks, and Cayugas. The program expanded each year, providing opportunities for both boys and girls ages 5–15 to play instructional youth baseball. By the early 80’s, the SFX sports board had expanded its outreach to the Brooklyn community at large. Other volunteers that have admirably run the program through the years include George McKeon, Frank Taylor, Jimmy Duffy, John Graham, Jack Franca, Ron Marino, Stan Lehman, Jim Friel, Javier Rosario, and John Piccard.

Between 1985 and 1999, the number of players in SFX Youth Sports grew from 250 to over 850. The Girl’s Softball division was started in 1993 and serves girls aged 8 to 15. To add variety and diversity to the baseball program, the SFX HUSKIES travel team program was added in 2004 led by Christopher Rios, who himself played in our coed baseball program years earlier. SFX Baseball now boasts 50 to 60 teams per year, including six travel teams. SFX Baseball has had such a profound impact on its players over the years that many former players now coach, umpire and sponsor teams. We also have many former players whose children now play for SFX. Soon we will have grandchildren of former players. SFX Baseball is one of the founding members of the Prospect Park Baseball Association (PPBA), which was organized in 1995. PPBA is one of the largest youth baseball leagues in the New York City metropolitan area with over 2,000 players on 135 community sponsored teams that play each other in Prospect Park and other parts of Brooklyn.

Flag Football

In 2007, SFX Youth Sports with the help of board members Barbara & Tom Henderson, launched a bold initiative to expand our services to our communities by adding NFL Flag Football for 11-17 year-old boys. Introduced in 2007, it was the first program of its kind in the Park Slope/Prospect Park area.

The program now has expanded to a Five-Division format for Co-Ed kids from 7-8 years old (Rookie Division) and Co-Ed 9-11 years old (NFC Division); the All-Boys 12-14 years old (AFC Division); the All-Girls 12-14 years old (LIBERTY Division); & the All-Boys 15-17 years Old (NFL Division).

Soccer

Catching the soccer wave that spread over the USA, SFX Soccer was born in 1984 headed by two volunteers, Ed Ezra and Ken Stevens. A slow and steady interest grew over the years, and by the 1990s when Denis Meadow and Ron Marino headed the program, participation had grown to over 250 players. The program went on brief hiatus in 2003, then was relaunched in 2005. Through the efforts of Ron Fink and Lenny Rodriguez, the soccer program quickly rebounded to serve over 100 players in 2006. The Soccer program now serves children 4 to 8 years old and a maximium of 10 players per team on 8 teams. As of 2010 SFX Soccer is now flourishing under the guidance of Coach JP Devesin.

Girls Volleyball

In 2010 SFXYS introduced Girls Volleyball to our list of programs.  The focus of this sport is on teaching volleyball skills and techniques, game play and strategies, and building confidence and camaraderie as a team.  The program vision was brought to us by Coach Samantha Razook-Murphy who is the Director of SFX Volleyball.

By Mary Ann McHugh- Feeney with Stan Lehman & Javier Rosario