NESHOF Announces Class of 2013

November 6, 2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The New England Soccer Hall of Fame, which has recognized the region’s best players, coaches, referees, executives, and builders since 1978, has announced its 2013 class of inductees, all of whom will be honored during the Hall’s 36th Annual Induction Ceremony on Sunday, November 24, 2013 at the Hilltop Hotel in Seekonk, Mass. The ceremony will start at 1:00pm.

Information about the induction dinner, which is open to the public, is available at or by contacting Chairman of the Board Joseph Sousa at

Among this year’s honorees are former Rhode Island Oceaneers midfielder Juan Cano, Western Mass Pioneers club president Celso Correia, longtime USSF referee George Cortes,  former Providence College men’s soccer coach Bill Doyle, South Center Premier president Andrea Duffy, former University of Rhode Island men’s soccer coach Geza Henni, longtime youth administrator Kathy Palmeiro, PROJECT GOAL co-founder Darius Shirzadi and former Brown men’s soccer coach Cliff Stevenson.

Juan Cano came to the United States from Colombia in 1973 and shortly thereafter linked up with Giovanni XXIII in Rhode Island. Later that year, he made the successful jump to ASL competition when he joined the Rhode Island Oceaneers. It proved to be a fruitful signing for the Oceaneers, who won the 1974 ASL championship with Cano earning Rookie of the Year honors. Cano continued his career in Rhode Island through 1976 before joining the New Jersey Americans in 1977. His arrival coincided with the Generals winning the ASL championship that year In 1978, he was named Most Valuable Player, and shortly thereafter, he joined the New England Team for the 1979 and 1980 seasons. He lives in Central Falls, RI.

Celso Correia played for the Gremio Lusitano Club in Ludlow, MA for years before taking over as club president in the mid-90s. Motivated by a dare posed by fellow club members, Correia started the the Western Mass Pioneers, a side that entered USISL in 1997. In 1999, the Pioneers won the USL-2 championship, and became one of the strongest teams in third-division soccer. The Pioneers advanced to the USL-2 championship again in 2005, but the Charlotte Eagles denied them of a second title. In 2010, the Pioneers entered PDL, where they continually set attendance records among New England-based squads. Correia remains an integral part of the team’s success, and is often seen at Lusitano Stadium chatting with fans, players and coaches alike. He lives in Ludlow, MA.

George Cortes was born in Colombia but moved to the U.S. at age 18. After playing and refereeing numerous games in his native country as a youth referee, Cortes earned his Business Administration degree at Worcester State College, all the while working as a local Spanish-language sportscaster part-time. He played for Worcester Scandinavian Club with his brother in 1967, before moving onto a number of different teams in Massachusetts during the 1970s. Although a severe leg injury cut his playing career short in 1975, it wasn’t long before he returned to the pitch – as a referee. In 1977, he commenced a decorated career that saw him referee in LASA, USISL, and PDL leagues, and also served as an assistant referee in a few international friendlies. He currently serves as a USSF instructor and National Assessor. Earlier this year, he was recognized by the USSF as a Lifetime Member. He lives in Worcester, MA.

Bill Doyle piloted the Providence College Friars to a hugely successful run that spanned four decades. He kicked off his stint with the Friars in 1968, and built the program into a New England powerhouse. In 1983, he not only led the Friars to the NCAAs, but the team also earned the Sampson Trophy as the top team in the Eastern Region. That same year, Doyle was named BIG EAST Coach of the Year, and a year later, he was a finalist for National Coach of the Year after the Friars were ranked eighth in the country, and first in New England. During a 27-year career at PC that lasted through 1994, Doyle put together a 207-155-35 mark, all the while he became the second-longest tenured coach in Providence College athletic history. He lives in Wakefield, RI.

Andrea Duffy kicked off her soccer journey in 1984 when she was named Secretary of the West Haven Youth Soccer League, a post she held until 2000. Shortly after she joined the WHYSL, she became South Central District Registrar in 1986, before moving on to State Registrar in 1991. Two years later, she was elected as President of the CJSA, and during her tenure, established the CJSA Inner City Program, as well as the CJSA Scholarship Program. She also kickstarted the CJSA American Cup, the CJSA website, the CJSA Young Player Development Program, TOPSoccer for athletes with disabilities and the Silent Sidelines Weekend program. She is also involved with the USSF and US Youth Soccer, and remains involved with South Central District and is president of South Central Premier. She was inducted into the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame in 2006. She lives in Branford, CT.

Geza Henni spent 20 years on the sideline as head coach of the University of Rhode Island men’s soccer team, starting in 1969. During his tenure, he posted a 175-125-47 record, and led the Rams to NCAA berths, as well as first place finishes in the New England and Yankee Conferences. He was named New England Coach of the Year in 1979, and served as an assistant professor of physical education at Kingston from 1969-89, and is now professor emeritus. Prior to his coaching career, Henni was a member of the Hungary National Team from 1946-54, before moving on to coach the U.S. National Team at the Pan American Games in 1967. He also guided the U.S. through its World Cup qualification process in 1965, and not long after, was appointed coach of the Houston Stars (NASL) from 1967-69. He lives in Florida.

Kathy Palmeiro served as Rhode Island Youth Invitation Indoor Tournament League Administrator from 1983-2006, all while also serving as President of Plantation Indoor Soccer. In 2000, she was named Region 1 Premier League Administrator, and in that role, she established the Premier and Sub-Regional Leagues. She lives in Foster, RI.

Darius Shirzadi co-founded PROJECT GOAL, an organization that provides academic, soccer and life skills to inner city children, in 2003 and since then, has made it one of the most visible youth soccer outreach programs in the country. His organization has helped over 700 children and their families, and has raised over four million dollars for scholarships and assistance to at risk children. PROJECT GOAL was recognized as a recipient of the FIFA Football for Hope Programme Grant in 2012 and 2013, and earned USSF grants in 2009, 2012 and 2013. The organization has been profiled in The Providence Journal, The Pawtucket Times, WJAR 10, WLNE 6 and Soccer New England. Prior to his involvement with PROJECT GOAL, Shirzadi served as assistant coach, general manager and director of operations for the Rhode Island Stingrays from 1995-99. He lives in Providence, RI.

Cliff Stevenson is regarded as one of the most distinguished coaches in college soccer history after a remarkable 38-season tenure at Brown University. From 1960-90, the Bears clinched 15 conference titles, including six straight from 1963-68. Between 1966 and 1968, the Bears ran a remarkable 26-game unbeaten streak, but were precluded from participating in the NCAA tournament due to the Ivy League’s refusal to adhere to a NCAA ruling. His influence on high school soccer in the Ocean State was undeniable; through his tireless efforts, soccer was offered at every state high school by the time he retired in 1990 despite the fact that the sport was rarely offered at the high school level when he started at Brown. Stevenson wasn’t just a coach or advocate for the sport, either; he was an innovator as well, who introduced the now-classic black and white paneled soccer ball, as well as the introduction of ball boys and ball girls to help speed up the game at the college level. Stevenson compiled a career 299-176-12 record in college soccer. A testament of his legacy isn’t hard to find at Brown, as the school soccer stadium was christened “Stevenson Field” in 1979. He lives in Sun City Center, FL.

Lilly, Nicol Headline NESHOF Class of 2012

October 4, 2012

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The New England Soccer Hall of Fame, which has recognized the region’s best players, coaches, referees, executives, and builders since 1978, has announced its 2012 class of inductees, all of whom will be honored during the Hall’s 35th Annual Induction Ceremony on Sunday, November 4th at the Johnson & Wales Inn in Seekonk, Mass. The ceremony will start at 1:00pm.

Information for the induction dinner, which is open to the public, is available at or by contacting Chairman of the Board Joseph Sousa at

Among this year’s honorees are former New England Revolution manager Steve Nicol, United States Women’s National Team midfielder/forward, former New York Cosmos/University of Rhode Island midfielder/forward David Caetano, Rhode Island Soccer League Over-30 co-founder William Grant, Former Rhode Island Oceaneers defender Telmo Pires, Bryant men’s soccer head coach Seamus Purcell, and current certified referee assessor Sal Rappolo.

Kristine Lilly is the most capped player in soccer history with 352 caps to her credit. She earned her first cap with the United States Women’s National team at age 16 in 1987, and went on to play in five World Cups (1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007), and three Olympic Games (1996, 2000, 2004). She helped the U.S. to two World Cup championships in 1991 and 1999 and earned two Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2004. In her international career, she scored 130 goals, which ranks third all-time behind Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm. She also played for the Boston Breakers in two separate stints (2001-03, 2009-11). She currently resides in Needham, MA.

Steve Nicol guided the New England Revolution to their first MLS Cup final in 2002 before he led them back three more times in 2005, 2006 and 2007. In 2007, Nicol led the Revolution to the U.S. Open Cup championship, marking the first time a New England-based club had hoisted the trophy since the 1947 Ponta Delgada squad. From 2002-2011, he amassed 101 wins, and is only one of three head coaches in MLS history to eclipse the century mark for career wins. Prior to his arrival in New England, Nicol played for Liverpool from 1981-95, and led the Reds to five Football League First Division titles and three FA Cup winners medals and the 1984 European Cup. He currently resides in Hopkinton, MA.

David Caetano signed a two-year contract with Portuguese powerhouse Benfica (Lisbon) after spending the 1982 preseason with the New York Cosmos, who picked in the 1st round (6th overall) of the 1982 NASL draft. From there, he went on to play for Sport Clube Maritimo, where he nearly helped the club earn promotion to the Portuguese first division. After his stay in Madeira, he returned to the U.S. and played for the Boston Bolts and Albany Capitals of the ASL. In 1984, accept the head coaching position at Western Connecticut University before moving on coaching at the high school level. In 2006, he was the first soccer player inducted into the Danbury High School Hall of Fame. He currently resides in Lison, Portugal.

William Grant co-founded the Rhode Island Soccer League Over-30s in 1991, and helped it expand from five teams to more than 40 active teams playing in several divisions. Additionally, he has served in various capacities for the Rhode Island Soccer Association, including treasurer, secretary and second vice president. He also refereed high school and NCAA soccer in the 1980s and was named a State Referee Administrator. Prior to his refereeing days, he played for Community College of Rhode Island before moving on to American Hellenic and Giovanni XXII SC of the Rhode Island Soccer League. He currently resides in Warwick, R.I.

Telmo Pires kicked off his professional career with the Rhode Island Oceaneers in 1974, and helped the club win the 1975 ASL Championship. That year, he earned his first cap with the U.S. in a 4-0 loss to Poland, and also saw playing time with the U.S. Olympic soccer tea m in 1976 before falling short of qualifying. He went on to play for the Hartford Bicentennials and won his second ASL title with the New Jersey Americans in 1977. After his tenure with the Americans, he took his game indoors for the Cincinnati Kids and Hartford Hellions. In 1981, he became head coach of the New England Sharks (ASL) .

Seamus Purcell was named NE-10 Conference Coach of the Year and NSCAA New England Region Coachj of the Year in 2002 after leading Bryant University to a school best 12-8-0 record. He led the Bulldogs to the Northeast-10 conference tournament seven times during his tenure, and helped the team make the difficult transition to Division-1 soccer in 2008. All told, Purcell has recorded over 100 wins with the Bulldogs. Prior to his coaching career, he played for his native Ireland at the youth level for three years and played at the youth European and World Cup Championships before enrolling at Providence College in 1985. In 2008, he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. He currently resides in West Greenwich, R.I.

Sal Roppolo made his name as a coach for Taunton Sports, Cranston Sports and Bridgewater State University before moving on to a distinguished refereeing career. From 1986-2005, he officiated numerous you and adult league games, including Luso-American Soccer Association, Massachusetts State Soccer League, South Shore League and other state-wide competitions. In 1995, he was given the South Shore League 25-year service award. In 1996, he was certified as an assessor, a role he remains active in. He currently resides in Brockton, MA.

Jay Heaps (’11) named Revolution Head Coach

November 17, 2011

Welcome (Back) to the Fold

(Courtesy of New England Soccer Today)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Flanked by the men who hired him, newly-appointed head coach Jay Heaps spoke confidently about the immediate changes that need to take place in order to return the New England Revolution back to respectability.

“Fundamentally, a few things have to change right off the bat,” said Heaps as President Brian Bilello and General Manager Michael Burns looked on. “One thing is game preparation. What we do as a team throughout the week – we’re going to look at ourselves – (and) we’re going to see what we’ve done wrong through the past week and how we can change that, then implement a game plan and see what advantages we can take from video and impose our will on other teams.”

It’s been awhile since the Revolution regularly imposed their will on the competition. Since the club’s last postseason berth – back in 2009 – the team has only claimed 14 victories in their last 64 games. To say that a change was due would be an understatement.

Recognizing that, the organization parted ways with longtime manager Steve Nicol and the search for a head coach that would act as a catalyst for change commenced. But even though the team spoke to a variety of candidates, Heaps shined as a leading candidate right from the start.

“We liked what he had to say in terms of what changes he felt were needed to make our team better,” said Burns. “He also has a very keen understanding of MLS, in terms of the players that are out there. When you factor all that in, he ended up being our first choice.”

Despite his lack of MLS coaching experience, Heaps’ understanding of the league was certainly to his benefit in the interviewing process. In the past, Nicol relied on the college drafts and the international waters to bolster his roster – with mixed success in recent years.

With proven talent available within MLS, Heaps hopes to utilize his knowledge of the league to enhance – via trades, free agency, and the re-entry draft – the core group of players already in place and steer the Revolution back to the postseason.

“I’m a big believer that you have to build upon a nucleus of players,” said Heaps. “We need more from that core (already in place), but we’re going to add to this core and we’re going to go forward and bring in players that strengthen that core.”

In addition to strengthening that core, Heaps also hopes to utilize some resources that his predecessor may not have invested in. Some of those resources include video analysis, advance scouting, as well as a new approach toward strength and conditioning.

“I want to make sure,” said Heaps. “That we will not be outworked and we will not be outsmarted.”

Another area he’d like to see the team improve upon is its propensity to attack – something the team seemed to shy away from at times last season, especially when holding a lead.

“I don’t want (us) to sit back and play too conservative,” said Heaps. “I want to make sure that we have the mindset that we’re going to go forward and we’re going to attack.”

Instituting these changes would be a challenge for anyone, let alone a first year head coach. But no man is an island. During Wednesday’s press conference, Heaps reflected on the coaches that have helped mold his coaching ideologies.

“One thing that I’ve been very blessed with, was that I could learn from people,” said Heaps, citing Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, who brought Heaps into his championship-caliber program as a walk-on in 1995, as one of many influences. “I had unbelievable coaches. No question where I am today, (it’s because) I have taken a lot from what I’ve learned.”

The lessons learned from the likes of Krzyzewski, former Miami Fusion manager Ray Hudson, and Nicol will certainly guide Heaps as he endeavors into coaching. And while there will certainly be instances when Heaps will have no choice but to learn on the job, Burns is certain that his newest hire will rise to the challenge.

“I don’t feel Jay knows any way other than to be successful,” said Burns. “I have no doubt that he’ll be a successful coach.”