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Ukrainian Sports Club NY (YCK) is an amateur soccer club based in NYC, established in 1947 with a long and illustrious history. Currently playing in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League, the adult league has their home games at McCarren Park in Brooklyn and travels all over the tri-state area. Ukrainian Sports Club has expanded it's formidable force to include a youth league for soccer and volleyball which commenced in the fall of 2019. It's overarching goal is to provide athletics as a vehicle to humanities and to share the things that we love.

YCK provides a variety of sports programs for all ages. Presently, YCK has three men’s senior soccer teams (NY Ukrainians, NY Ukrainians Reserve, NY Ukrainians III) directed by Steve Kovalenko.  Our Youth Athletics Clinic, directed and coached by Bohdan Pryjmak, offers soccer for kids 5-12, and volleyball for kids 13-17.  

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The New York Ukrainian Reserve Team

Theresa Gjenasaj 

Writing About Communities 

The New York Ukrainian Reserve Team 

The players of the New York Ukrainian Reserve team formed two pillars, transforming the soccer field of McCarren Park in Brooklyn into a runway. A Serbian stood next to an Albanian, towering over the rest. A Chinese player stood next to his Brazilian teammate bumping shoulders. Nickoy Montaque, a player originally from Haiti, ran in-between them all after finishing his last game on the team (he had joined the Air Force). As they screamed and shouted bidding him farewell, his wife and children looked on from the sidelines smiling. 

The New York Ukrainian Soccer Team was started in 1947 by Ukrainian immigrants in New York City. It was developed as a way to engage the Ukrainian youth and get them involved in sports. The team was initially part of the German-American soccer league, which included the New York Ukrainian team and was still based in the United States, but housed teams made up of specific ethnicities. Over the years, the league recognized the need to expand the nationalities on each team. They wanted to allow any immigrant to play on any team, despite their country of origin. So, the German-American Soccer league converted to the Cosmopolitan Soccer League. This transformed each team and soon the New York Ukrainians became a source of community for new immigrants from South America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. This only strengthened the teams' results as they consistently win first and second place in their matches. 

The long legacy of the league highlights the tenure and devotion to the team. The President of the Club, Willie Zinewitsch, can usually be found wearing New York Ukrainian gear on the sidelines of eat game, looking on with kind eyes. He found out about the team after he immigrated from Vienna to East New York, Brooklyn and made friends with a soccer player in his new neighborhood. Struggling to find a place for himself in America, he found it through soccer, and his passion was ignited. At the time, he didn't know his friend was a player on the New York Ukrainian team, but when he found out and was offered a spot, he jumped at the chance. 30 years later, he is still involved. The current players have found out about the team much the same way- through friendly games at various parks around New York City- and most have been on the team for five or more years. 

Each player has faced the obstacles that come with starting a new life in another country - cost of living, distance from their family, and language barriers. While they are drawn to the team because of their love of soccer, they gain something so much more. A diverse community that supports them through their transition to New York. They share how much they pay for rent, discuss areas to live, and coach newer members on what it's like to live in New York. Recently, a players apartment flooded, and their manager stepped in to help. They're there for each other in times of need. 

"They are almost like a family", Izzy Gjenasaj, their manager (and my father) states. I can attest to this, as I've spent my childhood sitting on the sidelines of games watching him play for them (he joined the team as a defender in 1986). What has always struck me, and has yet to change, is how openly they accept each other's cultures. When a Yemen player is fasting, no one bats an eye when he declines water during halftime. They are eager to share their culture's cuisine,  gathering off the field to dine at ethnic restaurants throughout the city. A group chat is used to stay in touch when they aren't together. The Reserve team's closeness is palpable, and in the divisive times we are living in, it is refreshing to see such unity. 

They are not without their challenges, though. A current source of contention is the former their peers, soccer team's physical space. For $50 dollars, club members used to be able to enjoy a drink and meet other new immigrants at their East Village location on 2nd Avenue, an area that was primarily Ukrainian. Zinkewitsch laughs remembering the hours they'd spend catching up with "we go to the club and kind of like sit down and hang out" he said "and, ya know, by hanging out, we're hanging out! They don't want to leave!" The club sold the building a few years ago, buying a new one in Greenpoint, Brooklyn close to their home field, McCarren Park.  A legal dispute between board members has stalled renovations, but they are hopeful to have a new space soon where players and their families come to engage in community events. 

What brings players back year after year? Their answers are unanimous. Their passion is the grip that unifies them across cultures. The relationships they've fostered with one another expands beyond the field. In speaking with Marko Petkovic, a midfielder from Serbia, he doesn't miss a beat when answering, "Of course- because of my teammates, and because we have great results." 

Spring 2024 New York Ukrainians Teams

Spring 2024 New York Ukrainians Teams


Want to keep up with the standings, the players, and dates/times of games? Check it out here! Join us!

NY Ukrainians Division 1:

NY Ukrainians Reserves Division 1:

Promoted to Division 1!!!!

First half of 2022 Season is looking good!

Willie, Iurii (+ daughter) and Izzy

Some of our Board of Directors always at the NY Ukrainians Soccer Games!

Roman of the New York Ukrainians, sharing YCK's support for Ukraine


Ukrainian Sports Club YCK

Ukrainian Sports Club YCK

Ukrainian Sports Club

Ukrainian American Soccer Ass'n Inc  

& N.Y. Ukrainian Sports Club Inc

663 Manhattan Avenue

Greenpoint Brooklyn, NY 11222