NESHOF Announces Class of 2014

October 30, 2014

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, announced its 2014 class of inductees today.

The class of 2014 includes former Boston Astros owner/executive John Bertos, longtime RISA and LASA defender Matteo Giarrusso, former ASL and LASA striker Mark Gilchrist, Ludlow coaching legend John Kurty, former Revolution assistant coach and England International Paul Mariner, former University of Rhode Island star Dan McCrudden, and U.S. Soccer Federation Manager of Identification and Training Dr. Herb Silva.

The 2014 class will be honored during the Hall’s 37th Annual Induction Ceremony on Sunday, November 23, 2014 at the Ramada Seekonk in Seekonk, Mass. Doors will open at 12:30pm, and the ceremony will start at 1:00pm.

Information about the induction dinner, which is open to the public, is available at nesoccerhall.com or by contacting Chairman of the Board Joseph Sousa at soccerjbsousa@yahoo.com. ***Due to limited seating, guests are strongly encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance. ***

John Bertos was among the sport’s biggest backers during the 1960s and 1970s, establishing the Astros franchise in 1966. His big picture thinking allowed the Astros to become one of the most recognizable and successful teams in New England during a time of renewed interest in the beautiful game throughout the country. Although the Astros’ base of operations moved from city to city, Bertos’ passion for promoting the sport never wavered. In 1972, Bertos brokered a deal with Santos of Brazil to bring Pele to the region for an exhibition at Boston University. He organized friendlies between his Astros and foreign sides such as Benfica, Aberdeen and Hakoah on a regular basis, attracting crowds of 10,000+ during a time in which the sport was largely overlooked by the local media.

Matteo Giarrusso emigrated to the U.S. from Italy in 1966, and went on to star for a number of teams in Southeastern New England. In 1977, he was named to the New England College Conference Soccer Team in during his sophomore season at Rhode Island College. From there, he went on to play for legendary R.I.-based Giovanni XXIII, where he earned team MVP honors in 1980. During the rest of the decade, he played for East Providence Sports, Fox Point Portuguese Sports, Providence Italians, and Warwick United. In addition to his playing career, he coached his alma mater’s women’s team from 1980-83, and served as board member of Warwick Soccer Association from 1993-2010.

Mark Gilchrist played under legendary coach Sir Alex Ferguson while at St. Mirren (Scottish Premier League) during the late-1970s and early-1980s. Gilchrist moved on to Clyde FC, where he played under coach Craig Brown from 1980-82. He returned to the U.S. in 1983 to play for the New England Sharks, and from there, enjoyed a successful seven year career in the LASA league, one of the premier semi-pro leagues in the country during the 80s. After his playing career concluded, he took over as varsity boy soccer coach at Scituate High School from 1992-2003. He currently coaches the Smithfield High School boys soccer team, as well as the Rhode Island Strikers U-12s.

John Kurty was a legendary soccer coach, first with the Ludlow public schools and later at Westfield State College. Kurty was soccer coach at Ludlow High School, where he had a record of 150 wins, 19 losses and 19 ties over 10 years. His team won three consecutive state titles. After leading Ludlow High School to years of success, he assumed the coaching post at Westfield State College in 1966. He compiled a record of 153 wins, 36 losses and 13 ties. At the time of his retirement, his winning percentage of .790 was the highest on record for New England colleges and universities. He also coached volleyball and was an assistant coach for the baseball team, according to the college. Kurty was elected into the Westfield State Athletic Hall of Fame for his career at the college as soccer coach, and also named to the Ludlow High School Sports Hall of Fame, both as a player and as a coach, in 2007. He died in 2012.

Paul Mariner, who served as Revolution assistant coach during the club’s three straight MLS Cup appearances (2005-07), is remembered by world soccer fans as one of the top center forwards in English football in the late-1970s and early-1980s. He earned 35 international caps playing for his country, and led the England attack in the 1982 FIFA World Cup. After starting his professional club career with Plymouth Argyle, Mariner scored 97 goals in eight seasons for Ipswich Town from 1976-84, before playing three seasons with Arsenal FC in London and finishing his English Leagues career with Portsmouth. He helped Ipswich Town win the 1978 FA Cup and 1981 UEFA Cup. Now retired from coaching, Mariner is a regular analyst and contributor to ESPN’s daily soccer program, ESPN FC.

Dan McCrudden attended the University of Rhode Island, where he played on the soccer team from 1974 to 1977. He led the team in scoring all four seasons and was a 1977 Honorable Mention (third team) All American. In 1978, the Chicago Sting selected McCrudden in the first round (16th overall) of the North American Soccer League college draft. He played one season with the Sting, and another five seasons in the American Soccer League where he was a 1980 All-Star. In 1998, he was inducted into the URI Rams Hall of Fame.

Dr. Herb Silva is the Manager of Identification and Training for the United States Soccer Federation. He began his soccer referee career in the 1970s and quickly rose to officiating in the old North American Soccer League. He has a long history of officiating Division One Adult leagues in St. Louis, at the Adult Region II tournaments, and the Adult Cup Finals. After retiring as an active referee, Herb often was appointed as an instructor or assessor of the referees at Adult Division Regional and National events. He also had a long career as an indoor referee. He started as a referee in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL), the league that succeeded the NASL as a national professional soccer league. With the MISL he became the Director of Officials. He also participated in other indoor leagues such as the WISL and CISL. In 1996, Herb became the Director of Officials for Major League Soccer. In that role he was responsible for the training and assignment of officials in the new professional outdoor league.


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 nesoccerhall.com or by contacting Chairman of the Board Joseph Sousa at soccerjbsousa@yahoo.com.

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.


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.”