The family's father, Charlie, was among the first of children to play in the league and he later became one of its most dedicated coaches for 27 years. His son Christopher was a player and a coach like his father.
The Amorosos have touched the lives of many of the township's youngsters over the ages. Now, their name will live on forever in the annals of the 40-year-old league, long considered one of the best youth football organizations in New Jersey.
Last Saturday, as part of the league's annual awards banquet and ceremonies, program officials decided to name the award for the outstanding offensive lineman in honor of Christopher, who perished Sept. 11 in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Christopher grew up in North Bergen but moved to Staten Island three years ago.
Before Chris became a dedicated Port Authority police officer, he was known as "Chopper" in his football life for his unconventional style of running.
When the 29-year-old was tragically lost doing his job at the World Trade Center, the league wanted to find a way to honor him.
"We had to do something," said John "Digger" O'Dell, the business manager for North Bergen Youth Football's Parents Association and the deputy director of recreation for the township. "We had a meeting after Sept. 11 and decided that this would be a fitting honor for Chris. So we changed the program around and named the award after Chris. We loved him. Chris went through school with my son [Paul, one of the league's coaches]. Now, we will always remember him."
Joseph Freire, a 14-year-old player on the North Bergen Red Raiders, was named the recipient of the first annual Christopher Amoroso Memorial Best Offensive Lineman Award.
Many members of the Amoroso family, including Chris' father and his widow, Jaime, were at the presentation and moved by it.
"This was excellent," said Jaime. "If he were here, my husband would be flying. He lived for this town. He told me so many stories of how much he loved North Bergen football and loved coaching as he got older. I'm honored that they thought so much of Chris to honor him this way."
Jaime said that the night was important for her 2-year-old daughter, Sophia, to remember what her father was all about. "Chris wanted Sophia to play football," Jaime laughed. "Because our daughter is so young, it's important for her to know all these stories, so she gets to know just how great of a man her father was. These people here were with Chris for his entire life. And the admiration they have for him just blows me away. I wasn't expecting anything like this. It really was a memorable evening."
Charlie, who spent 27 years coaching in the league, echoed the sentiments of his daughter-in-law. "It was so nice, in so much that so many members of our family were there," he said. "Jaime got to hear stories about what Chris was all about. It puts Chris in a different light for her. All of these coaches now were friends and classmates of Chris. I remember them all as little kids, hanging out in my house.
Charlie added, "It was a little tough for me emotionally, because something like this puts a little finality to it. He was a big guy with a lot of heart. I never realized just how much of an impact he had on people."
In another emotional presentation, the town's soccer, basketball and football programs each donated $1,000, with money raised throughout the respective seasons, to Jaime and Sophia.
"It was the least we could do," O'Dell said.
North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco was also part of the awards ceremony. "Chris and his family are part of North Bergen football history," Sacco said. "They've been a part of North Bergen for so long. I think it was a really nice gesture to remember him and what he stood for. The donation was just a way to show his wife and his family how much he meant to us."
In addition to the individual awards, the Red Raiders, the town's team for 13-and-14-year-olds, were honored for winning the regular season Hudson County Youth Football League championship. The players received jackets.
More than 1,200 youngsters, both players and cheerleaders, were honored in a series of awards dinners, held both at St. Rocco's Parish Center on Kennedy Boulevard and the township's Senior Nutritional Center on 45th Street.