Ronkonkoma, NY ~ Founder of the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame, Kevin L. McCrudden announced, “I could not be more proud to announce our class of 2014 inductees to the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame. This is a list of extraordinary players and people that have done amazing things through their soccer careers and we are so glad to be honoring them. Sara Whalen (Hess) from Northport and Sue Ryan, also from Northport; Michael Collins, Jackie Shannon and Ritchie Kotchau from Hicksville; and Dominic Pedone from Glen Cove Soccer Club.”
The Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame is in partnership with the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL). The LIJSL President Addie Mattei-Iaia stated, “The Long Island Junior Soccer League is happy to continue as a partner in the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame. The coaches and players who created the rich soccer tradition here on Long Island now have a place where their outstanding contributions to the game can be recognized and remembered. This year’s class has made an impact at the youth, high school, college, and professional level, both as players and coaches. We join the entire Long Island soccer community in thanking them for all they’ve done to grow our game and congratulating them on this tremendous honor.”
The experiences of the inductees could not vary more dramatically. Sara Whalen, from Greenlawn was a High School and college standout at UCONN and a member of the United States Women’s National Team that won the 1999 Women’s World Cup, as well as a member of the Silver Medalist Olympic Team from the Sydney Olympics. Sara said, “I am always so grateful when I think about the experience I had on Long Island playing soccer. I grew so much as a player here, but more importantly I grew as a person. Soccer was the foundation through which I learned how to be a teammate to others, on and off the field. Thank you to the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame and LIJSL for recognizing me and for continuing to teach our kids how to be good teammates.” Sara is a part of one of the most famous moments in women’s soccer history, when Brandi Chastain infamously removed her jersey to expose her sports bra, the first person she hugged, was Sara!
Compare that to the experience of Michael Collins, son of long time LIJSL President Peter Collins, who was drafted professionally right out of St. John the Baptist High School, where he helped them win three straight NYS Championships and then played for the New York United of the American Soccer League and The New York Arrows indoor soccer team. Michael played over 14 years of indoor soccer during a period of time when there was no major outdoor soccer league. “It is an honor and a privilege to be inducted into the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame. I am looking forward to seeing and thanking so many friends and family for their help in making my career so very special.” said Collins.
One of Collins’ teammates from Hicksville and considered one of the best players to ever come from Long Island is Jackie Shannon. Jackie said, ““Knowing the number of amazing people (i.e. players, coaches, administrators, etc.) that have contributed to the rich growth and development of soccer on Long Island, I am ‘blown away’ by being acknowledged in this manner.”
Shannon was an All-America at Hicksville High School in 1978 and 1979 and was an All American at Fordham where he received the Vince Lombardi Memorial Trophy for Best Student Athlete in 1982 and was inducted into the Fordham Hall of Fame in 1989.
Dominic Pedone from Glen Cove played for Glen Cove in the LISFL Men’s League and the Mineola Portuguese Soccer Club, which arranged a “transfer”
Sue Ryan, who is now known for being the long time women’s soccer coach at Stony Brook and very active in the soccer community, was involved in the first women’s national final game when she played at SUNY Cortland. Coach Ryan said, “I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition from the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame. I am proud to be a native Long Islander and I am also thankful to the Long Island Junior Soccer League for their support during my career as a youth player.”
Finally, and certainly not least, Ritchie Kotschau was a successful High School player from Hicksville and attended George Mason University and went on to have an incredibly successful 10 year career in Major League Soccer, playing with one of last year’s inductees, Chris Armas with the Chicago Fire. He also received 1 cap for the USMNT. Ritchie said, ““After all these years not being in and around the LI soccer scene; the fact that I am being honored is truly amazing. LI is where it all started and I am forever grateful to be part of such a dedicated organization. It is a great honor to be considered with all the other great players that are currently in the HOF and the ones being inducted this year.”
McCrudden concluded, “I hope people can make it to this event to listen to these great players amazing stories!”