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Lalas, Lassiter, Venturini-Hoch, Overbeck, are added to 2006 Hall of Fame ballot.

Hunt is honored at annual U.S. Soccer Federation banquet.

Ramos, Harkes, Balboa lead Hall of Fame induction of 11.

Here and there

U.S. Soccer Foundation awards over $100,000 to aid Gulf Coast recovery.

Brent Clements
Brent Clements is the executice director of the Mississippi Youth Soccer Association which received a major grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation to aid its recovery from last year's storms.
-- Mississippi Youth Soccer Association photo --

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Wednesday, April 19, 2006) -- The United States Soccer Foundation recently provided over $100,000 of support to eight Gulf Coast soccer organizations through the Soccer United Recovery Fund. The major charitable arm of soccer in the U.S. gave grants to community-based organizations in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas that were severely impacted by hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.

Included in the awards was the fourth major distribution of soccer goals and equipment to organizations in the Gulf states. Recipients in Mississippi were the Bay Area Youth Soccer (Bay St. Louis), Biloxi Soccer Organization, George Greene Soccer Association (Lucedale), Laural Jones County Soccer Association, Poplarville Soccer Club and South Mississippi Soccer Club (Gulfport). ISLANO, an adult soccer club in New Orleans, was a beneficiary in Louisiana, while Gulf Coast Youth Soccer Club in Nederland received the first SURF grant in Texas.

This latest set of Recovery Fund grants also includes $50,000 in financial support to the Mississippi Youth Soccer Association, a sum that was awarded through the Foundation's annual granting process.

"With the assistance of everyone involved in the SURF efforts, we have been able to get players back onto the fields and resuming normal lives," said Brent Clements, executive director of Mississippi Youth Soccer. "The additional foundation ($50,000) award will enable us to get all of our programs back on their feet."

The Foundation established the Soccer United Recovery Fund in October 2005, in partnership with Eurosport, to help rebuild soccer programs and facilities in Gulf Coast communities affected by the massive storms. In the six months since, the Foundation has awarded nearly 200,000 in Recovery Fund grants to over two dozen soccer organizations in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Initial requests for Soccer United Recovery Fund grant assistance were coordinated through 10 soccer organizations in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Since December, those seeking assistance on behalf of their youth teams and clubs have been able to apply directly through the Foundation with the representatives from the local organizations continuing to serve as an advisory group for the Fund.

Brent Clements
Under president John Koskinen, the U.S. Soccer Foundation has established a fund to benefit youth soccer clubs to recover from last year's terrible storms.
-- U.S. Soccer Foundation photo --
"This latest set of grants is another shining example of the support and teamwork being shown by all our community and corporate partners," said John Koskinen, U.S. Soccer Foundation president. "This on-going effort could not work without the goodwill and community spirit of the regional and local soccer leaders on the ground, along with our corporate partners."

The grant application process to aid the Gulf Coast soccer community is on-going and described on the U.S. Soccer Foundation web site. Following this most recent set of equipment grants, the focus of the Recovery Fund will move to the repair and rehabilitation of soccer fields damaged during the storms.

The Foundation also makes available special T-shirts or other products, designed and being sold by Eurosport, with proceeds going to SURF. These products can be purchased and donations can be made at the Foundation web site.

The U.S. Soccer Foundation was established in 1994 to manage the surplus funds generated by the 1994 FIFA World Cup held in the U.S. Over $40 million in grants, financial support and loans have been made to aid the continuous development of soccer at all levels in the nation.

The Foundation has provided 387 grants focused on developing players, coaches and referees and building or enhancing fields and soccer complexes with a special emphasis on economically disadvantaged urban areas.

Hall of Fame delays announcement

ONEONTA, N.Y. -- The National Soccer Hall of Fame announcement of those elected for 2006 induction, planned for April 22, has been moved to May 6 because of scheduling conflicts.

Rapaglia receives Fricker Builder Award

Ann and Sal Rapaglia
Sal Rapaglia and his wife Ann enjoy the evening after he became the fourth winner of the Werner Fricker Builder Award.
Salvatore Rapaglia, president of the Eastern New York State Amateur Soccer Association since 1979, is the recent recipient of the 2006 Werner Fricker Builder Award, an honor given annually by the U.S. Soccer Federation "to an individual or individuals who have worked tirelessly in furthering the interest of the sport of soccer, without regard to personal recognition or advancement."

Rapaglia was recognized for his efforts to foster the growth of soccer in the U.S., particularly in Eastern New York.

"I was a friend of Werner Fricker and Werner Fricker was a great man for soccer," Rapaglia said of the former USSF president. "When you are young, you try to emulate someone, you have a hero. Werner was my hero for many, many years, so I'm very proud to receive this."

Rapaglia began his soccer participation in the United States at the age of 15 after emigrating to the U.S. with his mother and four of his 10 siblings. He began to play soccer in local youth leagues, later graduating to adult leagues in New York. Rapaglia eventually coached and then moved to the administrative side of the sport.

After becoming recording secretary of the Italian-American Soccer League, Rapaglia moved up the ranks until he became league president in 1975. He stepped down as president of the IASL when he assumed a similar position with the ENYSASA in 1979.

Rapaglia was nominated for the award by ENYSASA secretary general Peter Pinori, who didn't inform Rapaglia of his nomination until after entering his name.

Marge Madriago and Sal Rapaglia
Marge Madriago, Werner Fricker Task Force chairperson and vice-chair of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association, gave Sal Rapaglia his award.
"He was perfect for that award," Pinori said of Rapaglia. "If you're in New York and you mention soccer, you have to mention Sal Rapaglia."

Under Rapaglia's guidance, the ENYSASA developed Offerman Park -- a plot of land which featured waste, and abandoned cars and appliances -- and turned it into a 10-field soccer complex known as Verrazzano Park that includes one lighted field.

"Once the season starts, he spends more time at that complex than at home," Pinori said. "Every time I call him, he's at the fields, whether it's helping the guy move dirt, move rocks, water the fields. He's always there."

Rapaglia was selected for the award unanimously by the Werner Fricker Task Force. He was the fourth recipient. Fricker was the first honoree posthumously in 2002, followed by Sunil Gulati, now the USSF president, in 2003, and Gerhard Mengel, president of the Michigan Soccer Association, in 2005.

Rapaglia received his honor at the USSF annual general meeting last month in Las Vegas.

"It was felt by the committee that Sal Rapaglia represents the award's description in developing soccer opportunities in the Eastern New York Area for players of all ages, youth and adult," said Task Force chair Marge Madriago, who is also vice-chair of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association. "Werner Fricker would be proud."

Fricker was president of the USSF from 1984-90 and was considered one of those responsible for bringing the World Cup to the U.S. in 1994. Born in Yugoslavia and raised in Austria, he lived in Pennsylvania as an adult when he was a star midfielder for the United German Hungarians of Philadelphia from 1954-69. He played on the 1964 U.S. Olympic team and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1992.

Fricker died in 2001 at the age of 65.

U.S. Club Soccer elects board members

Four positions on U.S, Club Soccer's board of directors have been filled following elections for the two-year terms.

Re-elected to the board are Region I's Peter Bradley (Mass Premier Soccer; Waltham, Mass.), Region II's Tim Lesiak (Ohio Elite Soccer Academy; West Chester, Ohio) and Region III's John Rennie (Triangle FC; Hillsborough, N.C.). Elected to a first term on the board is Shawn Blakeman (Sacramento United SC; Sacramento, Calif.).

Current board members with one year remaining on their terms are Region I's Steve Freeman (Blackwatch Premier SC; Albany, N.Y.), Region II's Mike Sweeny (Cleveland Whitecaps SC; Independence, Ohio), Region III's Vicki Sanford (Brentwood SC; Brentwood, Tenn.) and Region IV's Derek Armstrong (Nomads SC; La Jolla, Calif.), as well as board chairperson Phil Wright (San Juan SC; Folsom, Calif.).

To be elected to the board, a director must have a current relationship with a member club consisting of at least eight teams, at least five years coaching experience at a competitive level, and at least a USSF "B" coaching license or its National Soccer Coaches Association of America or international equivalent.

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