Celebrating Sports 2013: Honoree Bios

By Sabrina  |  September 17, 2013  |  News

Please join Riverside Park Conservancy to celebrate Sports in Riverside Park: Baseball and toast Debbie Kling and Jose Aguilera’s long and joyous association with the West Side Little League and Riverside Park.


Debbie Kling, a native of South Chicago, grew up in the shadow of steel mills, attending Chicago public schools and the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, before moving to the Manhattan’s Upper West Side in 1975.  A former nurse and mother of Jake and Emily, Debbie has spent most of her adult life within two blocks of her beloved Riverside Park.  She first became involved with the West Side Little League in 1991 when her son was six years old playing on the then asphalt-covered Boat Basin Fields at 77th Street in Riverside Park.  She quickly worked her way up from Team Mom to Division Head to Commissioner for Softball.  Debbie was then asked to join the League’s Board of Directors, and was elected Vice President in 2005, then President in 2007. In addition, she has for many years coached the Dragons Girls Softball team, where her daughter pitched, and co-headed the Bronx-Manhattan Girls Softball Inter-league and, as Commissioner for Softball, spearheaded the growth and expansion of West Side’s Girls Softball program. She can also be seen playing a Softball Coach in the movie “What Happens in Vegas” featuring two teams of girls from her softball division and co-starring Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz.


Jose Aguilera was born and raised on the Upper West Side.  Jose’s three children, Chris, Nick and Joey, all participated in West Side Little League.  Jose began coaching in 2001 and continues to do so for West Side’s 16 and under team. In 2008 Jose began overseeing the League’s “Travel Baseball Program” which he continues to do today.  The program has seen tremendous growth under Jose’s leadership.  Prior to 2008, and known then as the “Tournament Program”, it had 2 teams (25-30 kids) who played in just one tournament. This year, the Travel Baseball Program has 6 teams and over 100 kids participating in over 140 games! Jose is proud of managing the Hawks 10 and under team and winning the District championship in 2012. Vice President for Baseball, Jose also serves as equipment manager for the League.  In Jose’s “spare time” he owns and manages Giacomo’s Deli on 72nd Street.