SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Many of us can remember taking part in youth sports growing up. The benefit goes far beyond the field by promoting health and wellness in children and building their confidence and character.

Lee Massenzio, a longtime coach for the Valley Junior Athletic Association, has been doing just that for the past 25 years.

On Saturday morning, his players, fellow coaches, family and friends surprised Coach Lee with a special retirement sendoff, including a proclamation signed by Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.

Before becoming “Coach Lee,” he was your typical parent, signing up his own children to take part in youth soccer.

I signed up my daughter, who’s now 32, when she was in first grade, and I said I would be an assistant coach. They handed me a team and said “here you go.” From then on, I’ve been coaching and doing whatever I can to help the league.

COACH LEE MASSENZIO, VALLEY JUNIOR ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

His humble demeanor may fool you, but Coach Lee has worn several different hats throughout his 25 years of volunteering with VJAA…from coach, to referee, building and grounds keeper, janitor, and most recently, president of the league.

“I just want the kids to get out, have fun, and hopefully learn something.”

COACH LEE MASSENZIO, VALLEY JUNIOR ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

Even though Coach Lee is technically retiring, he says he still plans on helping out the league on the weekends.

If you’re interested in learning more about the VJAA or signing up, click here.