What started as a friendly soccer rivalry between the Jersey City Police Department and the Jersey City Fire Department has grown over the years, thanks to the enthusiasm of local law enforcement and first responders combined with the vision of Coach Alex Lalaoui from The Soccer Learning Center. Here’s how we started – and how we’re growing as the region’s largest law enforcement and first responder soccer league:
2008 – 2009
Organized by Coach Alex Lalaoui, The Jersey City Police Department and the Jersey City Fire Department meet in competitive soccer tournaments vying for the Heroes Cup championship. The Jersey City Fire Department wins three consecutive titles as the city’s reigning soccer champs. This two-team competition grows to include charity tournament events organized to raise funds for local New Jersey law enforcement families in need, including the 2009 soccer tournament held at Giants Stadium to benefit fallen Jersey City officer Marc DiNardo.
As more law enforcement and first responders participate in our successful fundraising soccer tournaments, interest in building a larger, organized soccer league grows. After Coach Alex Lalaoui gathers a roster of teams from the Jersey City Police Activity League and Police Department; the Jersey City Fire Department; the Hudson County Corrections Department; the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office; the Port Authority Police Department; the Hoboken Police Department; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the New Jersey Heroes Soccer League is officially launched on May 16, 2010 at Gateway Field in Jersey City, New Jersey. The league plays both indoor and outdoor games throughout the year.
The N.J. Heroes Soccer League continues to grow. The NJHeroes.com website is launched and teams are added from federal, state and local jurisdictions throughout the state. In September of 2011, the N.J. Heroes All-Star team made it to the semi-finals of the World Police and Fire Games held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York. In October, the team traveled to the Netherlands where they competed at the World Police International Soccer Tournament. Alex Lalaoui also teams up with an incredible group of members from the Rutgers University Urban Law Clinic who volunteer to assist the organization garner its 501c(3) non-profit status.
The N.J. Heroes is renamed the U.S. Soccer Heroes to better reflect the organization’s charitable mission as well as help grow the concept of law enforcement and first responder soccer leagues throughout the nation. Coach Alex Lalaoui is named the exclusive managing agent for the World Police Indoor Soccer Tournament (WPIST) organization in the Netherlands. The WPIST is the largest indoor soccer tournament for law enforcement personnel in the world. Coach Lalaoui will be responsible for garnering interest in the WPIST event and recruiting players from North America, Central America and Northern Africa. The U.S. Soccer Heroes will compete at the WPIST event in October of 2012. In April of 2012, the U.S. Soccer Heroes will again host a specialized soccer training program for autistic children from New Jersey. The Shooting Stars soccer program is the only professionally coached, free soccer class exclusively for autistic children in Hudson County, New Jersey.
To contact Coach Alex Lalaoui, please email him at CoachAlex@SoccerLearningCenter.com or call 201-656-1156.