Long Island, New York man organizes Guinness World Record soccer attempt for autism awareness
Autism awareness to be platform for world’s longest soccer match.
When Steven Giordano said he wanted to set a Guinness World Record by playing the longest soccer match in history, everybody used the word “crazy.”
Everyone, that is, except girlfriend Anna Schiller.
“I thought he was insane,” Schiller says.
Insanity has turned into reality (and charity), as 2008 Syosset High School graduate Giordano will captain one team that will play at Stillwell Fields from Aug. 20-22 in the “Kick for Autism” event.
The motivation was nothing more than a story Giordano saw on a Yahoo! home page. Beginning on April 30, church team Cambray FC and a team comprised of its league’s all-stars went for 35 hours in Cheltenham, England and currently holds the record.
Giordano, 19, thought he could do better, and admits there was a sense of personal accomplishment involved. But he also thought back to the autistic daughter of a rector from his old church in Bellerose, and everything clicked.
“I thought, ‘I can’t do something that big for nothing,’” Giordano remembers.
Giordano and Schiller are meeting with Autism Speaks next week to firm up their involvement, and they’re still waiting for confirmation from Guinness that this will be an official attempt.
But the event is on regardless, according to Giordano and Syosset Soccer Club Co-President Don Skorka.
“Steve called me out of the blue, and I thought it was a great idea,” Skorka says. “All he was looking for was a place to play, but I was so impressed I took it a step further and said we’d help him in any way we could.”
Skorka wasn’t lying. To alleviate any possible complaints from area residents, they’re going to set up a temporary main field closer to the back of the facility using portable lights. While the record attempt is going on, the Syosset Soccer Club will host a youth 3-on-3 tournament on fields set up around the main field.
The plan is to go for 40 hours, beginning at midnight on Aug. 20, and ending Aug. 22 around the time the youth tournament ends. The English attempt was also set for 40, but was shortened due to rain.
Giordano has most of the teams set up, using contacts from the numerous club teams he’s played for on Long Island. Each team will have 18 players to allow for substitutions, and a five-minute break is allowed between each hour of play. Their main foe should be August heat.
“We had to do it before the end of the summer or we were going to lose all the people going back to college,” Giordano explains.
Players have already begun training with hours of running, and the plan is to have a personal trainer come in to guide them in the last month before the attempt. As much fun as he’s having doing this, Giordano is realistic about the how grueling this will be.
As he puts it, “Forty hours is not something to joke around with.”
For information on how you can help with the “Kick for Autism” event, contact Steven Giordano at 516-317-3707.