Peter Collins (right)

CHICAGO (Dec. 1, 2018) – U.S. Soccer Life Member Peter Collins passed away Saturday at a Long Island, NY hospice facility with his wife Tina by his side. He was 87.  

“We are deeply saddened by the news of Peter Collins’ passing,” U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro said. “He had a huge impact on the game, helping grow the Long Island Junior Soccer Leagues into one of the most prominent in the country.”

Collins, who was born in Ireland, emigrated to the U.S. in 1957 and after playing near his home in Hicksville, NY in the 1950s went on to serve as president of the Long Island Junior Soccer League for more than 27 years from 1977 to 2004.

During that time, he oversaw the growth of the league from 300 teams to more than 1,475. He also founded a series of joint tournaments between teams from LIJSL and youth leagues in Russia, Ireland and Italy – the Liberty Cups. In 1997, he established the Long Island Soccer Park, which over the years has grown into a 22-acre facility with fields for use by players of various ages.

Upon his arrival to the U.S., Collins worked as a welder for the Long Island Lighting Company for 32 years. He also worked evenings as a security guard at Cantiague Park in Hicksville, but all the while found time to coach soccer teams that included three of his four children, who were his inspiration to volunteer as LIJSL president for so many years.

“I just started out with my children being involved,” Collins was quoted by Newsday. “And I stayed with it because it’s what I love.”

Collins was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1998, and then the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association and the LIJSL Halls of Fame.