Philadelphia Sports Day

Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame Announces The Class of 2016

The Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame on Thursday announced its 2016 class.

From their release:

This is the fourth year of inductees for the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame, which has been held each year during the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) Annual Convention. “The Long Island Junior Soccer League is proud to work in conjunction with the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame to recognize the foundation that helped solidify the importance of soccer on Long Island. Congratulations to this year’s inductees, a well deserved honor, for their support of the game,” said LIJSL President Anthony Moresco.

The only woman being inducted this year, Danielle (Egan) Reyna who is from West Islip and played for the Massapequa Soccer Club, said, “I am honored to be inducted into the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame. It was a huge part of my life and development as a soccer player. I am very thankful for the recognition.”  (Egan) Reyna played at North Carolina and won NCAA Titles all four years.  She went on to get 7 “Caps” (a “Cap” is given for each appearance with the full national team) for the United States Women’s National Team.

The Player Hall of Fame will be honoring the 1995 National Champion Long Island Rough Rider Team.  “The 1995 Long Island Rough Rider Team might have been one of the most unique combination of players and personnel in US soccer history, says Kevin McCrudden, the founder of the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame.  “Most of the team went on to star in Major League Soccer, which started the following year in ’96, and several members of the team went on to play for the US Men’s National Team and other national teams. This was truly an extraordinary group that was brought together by General Manager of the Year in 1995 Jim Kilmeade and Coach Alfonso Mondelo,” concluded McCrudden.

Mondelo, now the Technical Director for the entire MLS (Major League Soccer) said,  “The 1995 Long Island Rough Riders featured a special group of athletes that were gathered at the right time and place and created one of those magical seasons in sports that culminates by winning a National title.  The team was able to create a perfect storm combining the talent and local home hero status of the players along with a high degree of competitiveness and dedication, which led to electrifying performances that caught the imagination and support of the soccer community.  Scoring the winning goal in the final seconds of the Championship game at home in front of our diehard fans completed a storybook ending!”

Giovanni Savarese is now Head Coach of the New York Cosmos, where he has won two NASL Championships in the past 3 seasons.  “It was an unforgettable experience to be a part of the 1995 Rough Rider National Championship team and a great honor to be inducted into the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame, for which I’m extremely thankful to be selected.”  Savarese went on to play for the New York / New Jersey Metro Stars as well as having 30 “Caps” for his native Venezuelan National Team.

The 1995 Championship team was a unique combination of players with roots here on Long Island, Jim Rooney is now his Asst. Coach with the NASL’s Jacksonville Armada. Rooney, from Deer Park played at St. John the Baptist, CW Post and at Fordham University.  After playing with the Rough Riders and Metro Stars, he had short stints with the Miami Fusion and New England Revolution.   Before becoming assistant in Jacksonville, Rooney was the Head Coach of the United States Men’s U-17 National Team.

Paul Riley, utilized his success with the Rough Riders to launch a career that has positioned him as one of the premier women’s coaches in America. Riley established his Paul Riley Soccer School and became the Technical Director for the Alberston Academy, which lead to several opportunities to coach professional women’s teams in Philadelphia and Portland.  “It was a truly special time in Long Island soccer and we all thoroughly lived it and enjoyed it. To be able to share this accolade and be inducted with some of the giants of the game and long time teammates/friends is a fantastic moment for me,” said Riley of his induction.

There have been several successful coaches that come from the 1995 Rough Riders.  One of them is, Kevin Anderson, the Men’s Soccer Coach at Columbia University, who had a 10 year career in MLS.

Two Wheatley alumni will join another Wheatley graduate,  NY Cosmos announcer and former goalkeeper, Shep Messing, in the Player Hall of Fame.  Steve Cadet is a soccer coach with Paul Riley at the Alberston Academy, but is also a Leadership Coach at Wheatley H.S..  The other player is Mike Masters, who will be traveling from London for the ceremony and is famous for being the very first American to score in Wembley Stadium in England.  In 1992, while playing in England for Colchester United, Masters scored the first goal on a header of Colchester’s 3-1 win over Witton Albion and winning the FA Cup (Trophy).

Danny Mueller, a player’s favorite and widely regarded as one of the best players to ever come from Long Island, is a soccer journeyman that loved playing the game.  After three years with the Rough Riders he had tryouts with the NY/NJ Metro Stars and Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer, but Mueller preferred to be home playing in the well established Cosmopolitan League and Long Island Soccer Football League (LISFL), which is actually the “parent” of the Long Island Junior Soccer League.

“Our goal was to build a team dominated by locally grown talent and take on the best in North America.  We believed it was not only possible, but essential for us to also implement our grass roots marketing plan. In my view, The National Champion ‘95 Rough Riders represent the most talented professional soccer club in Long Island NY Metro area history and the team was 90% locally developed players. That era of players was the greatest ever developed in the area.” says Jim Kilmeade, who was the 1995 General Manager of the Year and largely responsible for pulling this team together.

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