After 30 Years, Mineola Portuguese Soccer Wins New York State Title

MPSC takes their fourth New York state amateur championship in 5-3 win over NY Pancyprians.

The hundreds of Portuguese gathered at June 12 to had even more to cheer about this year after the Mineola-Portuguese Soccer Club claimed the New York State Amateur Championship for the first time in 30 years.

The last time the club won the ENYSSA Manning Cup was in 1981, when Coach Jack DaFonte led the club to its last state championship. In 2011 DaFonte’s son, Marco, who along with team captain and VP George Spanos and VP Gabriel Marques, sought redemption for a state finals loss in 2009. They would face the 2010 National Amateur Champions and New York No. 1 ranked NY Pancyprian- Freedoms in this year’s final.

The game opened with Mineola taking a 1-0 lead after Spanos made a penalty kick after the Pancyprians handled the ball in their own end. Striker Shane Arikian would then bury two shots to bring the score to 3-0 at the half.

Halfway through the second, Mineola would again score after a shallow angle shot by forward Andrew Herman. With their keeper now playing almost to mid field in a heavy push forward, the Pancyprians were able to score three consecutive goals in the final 15 minutes to make it 4-3.

In the last five minutes a defensive clear for Mineola leaped over the head of the opposing goalkeeper at midfield and was quickly snatched up and booted by Herman for the fifth and final goal.

The senior DaFonte had tears in his eyes aatching his son lift the Manning Cup after the game. Spanos, who enjoyed the victory with his brother Frank said that winning the cup was great, but winning it against the best team in the State made it “special.”

After the game and “inspired” by the victory, ENYSSA president Sal Rappaglia announced that he had decided to send the team to the National Championships in Lancaster, PA on behalf of the Association. The George F. Donnelly Cup will be played for on July 10.

Upon returning to Mineola a few hours later, the team was swarmed with cheering fans at the Mineola fair after the cup was presented to the community.

The team was congratulated in person by New York State , Mineola , Trustees Paul Pereira and George Durham and received phone calls from Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos.

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