Noah Rapalje Memorial Indoor Soccer Scholarship
This scholarship was approved by the NYSL board in 2014 in the memory of Noah Rapalje. Noah was a fixture at many NYSL games over the years. Due to his physical challenges, Noah was not able to participate on the field, but he was on the sidelines with his dad, Brian, a long time NYSL coach, cheering on the team.
This scholarship is oriented towards NYSL indoor soccer program. It is targeted towards players who would not otherwise have the opportunity to participate due to financial or other family hardships. The number of scholarships awarded per indoor soccer session will vary, depending on the number of applications received.
A scholarship award is for one indoor soccer session and covers the cost of the session, the player's annual indoor membership fee a the Tyngsboro Sport Center, and the cost of the indoor soccer shirt.
See the scholarship application form for details on scholarship requirements.
Application will need to complete the application form. The Rapalje family will make the scholarship selections and the applicants will be notified before the start of the session.
Noah in his NYSL coaches shirt with his brother, Matthew.
More about Noah in the words of his dad, Brian.
Hello, my name is Brian Rapalje, me and my 2 sons, Matthew and Noah have been fixtures at NYSL for about 10 years. I was well known for my very loud coaching style, and for enjoying butting heads with the board of directors. Matthew was well know for his impressive defensive prowess, and Noah was well know for his sitting on our sidelines as my honorary assistant coach every Saturday.
Some background on Noah. He was born with autism. He turned out to be fairly high functioning, and could talk and did well in school. At age 14 he was diagnosed with Leukemia. Noah did well with the cancer, but not so good with the chemo. The chemo left him without the use of his legs, voice and he couldn't eat for an entire year. Sadly Noah passed away on November 20th 2013.
Noah's passing was sudden and unexpected. He had beaten the cancer and was in remission, and we were in the process of repairing the damage from the chemo. We had started physical therapy to get him walking and things were looking up. But a device that was supposed to improve his quality of life, malfunctioned and he went to heaven all of a sudden.
Of the 3 of us, no one enjoyed Saturday mornings more than Noah. Matt and I would drag ourselves out of bed and Noah would jump out of bed and get dressed and be ready before the both of us. He loved sitting on the sidelines and cheering us on. A rule was passed that no one could be on the players sideline unless they were wearing a coaches shirt, so the league gave Noah a coaches shirt.
One season when we won the championship the league made Noah a special trophy with his name on it, and when he was sick, Noah was awarded with the NYSL Lionheart Award, all without ever playing a minute of organized soccer.
Noah touched many lives, he was very kind, and non judgmental, he could care less your age, the color of your skin, or any handicap you might have. Noah also hated to lose, I have no idea where he got that trait, but his year long battle with cancer and him beating it is testimony to his strong will. I am hoping that this scholarship will go to not the most skilled player, but the player who has a giant heart like Noah, a player who gives 110 percent, a player who is kind and considerate. We owe a lot to NYSL, they have been very kind to us. I miss Noah every day, but he is looking over us, and probably hangs around Mine Falls on Saturday mornings 16 weeks a year.