ENYSASA HOF Party
GERMAN MENA SELECTED TO EASTERN NEW YORK SOCCER ASSOCIATION HALL OF FAME
The Eastern District Soccer Association is proud to have one of its Board of Directors selected to the 2017 class of the Eastern New York Soccer Association Hall of Fame.
German Mena was born and raised in Honduras. As most Hondurans his love for the game of soccer started young and he played the great sport of soccer almost before he could walk. He played right through High School and wanted to continue after school but German knew the he did not possess the skills to play in the semi-professional leagues. The semi-professional leagues did notice German’s knowledge of the game and natural ability to lead and instruct and offered him a position as coach. German became one of the youngest coaches ever to lead a Honduras semi-professional team. His fairness and ability to coach players much older than him and win were noticed by all.
Times were tough in Honduras and German’s father convinced German to move to America in March of 1994. The pressure of moving to a new country and making a living were monumental but he still took time to play soccer. Soccer to German is not simply a sport, but a way of life. He would go down to Tibbetts Brook Park and Pelton Field in Yonkers to participate in “pick-up” games and formed some strong friendships through soccer. In just a year his new friends form a team called “Friends United” and joined the Liga Mexicana de Yonkers. Besides playing his leadership skills once again surfaced and he was elected assistant coach.
In the first 2 years of “Friends United” wins were scares and they finished last out of 16 teams. In 1998 a few players from his native country Honduras asked him to help form a team of Hondurans. German gladly accepted and became coach of “Honduras Yonkers”.
In 1999 “Honduras Yonkers” won the league championship and repeated this feat for another 5 years becoming the only team to win 6 consecutive championships. Their reputation grew and were invited to participate in city-wide, countywide and statewide tournaments. Their games drew large crowds and they always finished in the top percent of the tournaments.
In 2006 Liga Mexicana de Yonkers encountered some problems and the teams were looking for a new outlet. The managers approached the City of Yonkers and asked for assistance in establishing a new “certified” league. The City of Yonkers offered to help but the league would have to be governed by the team and players themselves. The teams agreed and that night the 20 teams form a Board of Directors and German was voted unanimously to be president and lead their new endeavor. That night “Liga de Yonkers” was formed. The City of Yonkers Parks Commissioner said “Liga de Yonkers would have never had survived if it wasn’t for German Mena.”
Germans playing days were over but now coaching Honduras Yonkers and running the league became almost a full time job. Liga de Yonkers also joined the Eastern District Soccer League to give credibility to the league. German didn’t stop at just running Liga de Yonkers. He saw the need of soccer in the Yonkers Community and became an advocate for soccer at all levels. He started an over 40 league which played during the week, he started the first women’s league in Yonkers, and pushed back the game times of Liga de Yonkers to give playing time to youth soccer. If anyone had a soccer question or needed help German was the guy to go to. Not only did he work tirelessly promoting local soccer he was also instrumental in bringing non-affiliate players and teams into Eastern District Soccer League and Eastern New York State Soccer. He became a true ambassador for the sport of soccer.
In 2008 German was honored to be invited by EDSL President Peter Pinori to become a Board Member of EDSL and continues to serve proudly.
Honduras Yonkers continued to be one of the top teams in the area and participated and won numerous State Cup competitions. In 2016 they made the finals of the state cup but regretfully lost in close, well-played game.
In 2017, regretfully due to health reasons, German gave up coaching Honduras Yonkers and relinquished the presidency of Liga de Yonkers. He still serves and participates on the EDSL Board, and still spends time on Sundays at Pelton Field assisting whenever and wherever possible.
When informed he was nominated to the State Hall of Fame, he was honored but also embarrassed. Honored to be recognized by his peers but embarrassed for being honored by the great game of soccer when the great game of soccer has done so much for him.