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LI Soccer Player HOF Inducts Five New Members

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The Long Island Junior Soccer League once again joined with Soccer Long Island Magazine to celebrate Long Island’s most talented and successful soccer players at the 3rd annual Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner. The 2015 Class of Mike Windischmann, Emily Pickering-Harner (Massapequa SC), Tommy Lang (New Hyde Park SC, Garden City SC), Alan Bodenstein (Massapequa SC), and Eddie Cody (HBC) was inducted during the event, which is held in conjunction with the LIJSL Convention at the Hilton Huntington Hotel in Melville.

The evening started with citations for the honorees from New York State officials, and a moving tribute to Cody, who excelled as a member of the HBC TOPSoccer program for over 30 years before retiring this fall.  Windischmann, who went on to become the unlikely captain and unquestioned leader of the US Men’s National Team in 1989 that set the stage for the US’s return to prominence in international play, traced his greatest influences back to his coaches and teammates at Adelphi University.  Pickering, an All-American at North Carolina and the captain of the first US Women’s National Team, gave an emotional acceptance speech that thanked the many people in the Massapequa Soccer Club who made it possible for her to realize her dreams of playing at the highest level. 

Lang, a prolific scorer in his days at New Hyde Park HS and Adelphi, who went on to play in the NASL, told a great story of his greatest soccer memory, which took place, “in front of 77,000 empty seats at a Cosmos practice inside Giants Stadium.”  Practicing at left back with the first team, he said, “I will always remember it as Beckenbauer, to Lang, to Beckenbauer, to Lang, to Pele, to Chinaglia!” 

Bodenstein, a fiery player in his day, spoke about how Lang, his coach at Hofstra taught him about focus and set him on a course for success in college, the MISL, and beyond.  He also reminisced about playing pick-up soccer for days on end at Burns Park in Massapequa, and how the way he learned soccer was just by playing, and thanked his family and coaches in Massapequa for supporting him and letting the game teach, something he relies on heavily now as a high school coach.

“We are in this partnership because of the value it brings to our players,” said LIJSL President Anthony Maresco.  “Obviously, the hall of fame recognizes the outstanding players who helped build the foundation of the game here on Long Island, and gives our current players a sense of history for Long Island soccer, and what you can achieve here if you are willing to work hard and respect the game.”

To be considered for nomination, a player must be from Long Island, or have lived or played on Long Island during their playing career, and must have a positive record as an ambassador of soccer on Long Island. The player must have played professional soccer in one of the recognized professional soccer leagues in America (ie. ASL, NASL, MISL, USL, USISL, MLS or WPS), or a recognized international league at Division III or higher. Players who have played for the United States Men's National Team (USMNT) or the US Women's National Team (USWNT), or have been “Capped” for appearances with the full US National Team will also be given preference. A player that has been inducted by the United States Soccer Hall of Fame as a player will be given automatic induction into the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame.

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