LI Soccer Player HOF Inducts 2nd Class
March 08, 2014 | by Ken Ilchuk
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 2nd annual Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner. The 2014 Class of Sara Whalen-Hess, Richie Kotschau, Dominic Pedone, Jackie Shannon, and Sue Ryan was inducted during the event, which is held in conjunction with the LIJSL Convention at the Hilton Huntington Hotel in Melville.
Pedone, one of the most prolific scorers in Long Island history, and one of the first LI players to play professionally overseas (prior to the formation of the MLS), spoke about how emotional it was to see his old teammates again and how honored he was to be considered for the hall. Jackie Shannon, one of Pedone’s teammates on the Hicksville Americans team that finished 2nd in the national championships two years in a row, talked about the life lessons gained from growing up playing soccer on Long Island. Whalen followed, after being inducted by her husband John Hess, and introduced by her young son as, “#7 Sara Whalen!”, with the realization that her proud Long Island background helped make her the player she became, and gave her the toughness to overcome adversity and succeed in her life. Kotschau, described as one of the best players to ever come off Long Island, acknowledged that his road to a ten year career in the MLS, “all started right here.” Finally Ryan, who has made more contributions to the game of soccer (as a player and coach) on Long Island than maybe any other person associated with the game, was truly humbled by the opportunity to be included with so many great players.
“For the past two years, this has been one of the highlights of our convention and of the soccer calendar in my eyes,” said LIJSL President Addie Mattei-Iaia. “As a person who has been around the game for nearly 40 years, it is so exciting and gratifying to see our rich LI soccer history celebrated in this way, and I thank Kevin McCrudden (founder of the LI Soccer Player HOF) for his efforts in bringing this type of event to the public so these players can receive the accolades they so richly deserve.”
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.