Years with the Lancers: 1967-1980 (Owner, Chairman of the Board)
Born: Rochester, NY, USA
The father of professional soccer in Rochester. Became interested in the sport in 1966 after watching the FIFA World Cup Final between England and West Germany. Joined the Italian-American Sport Club, started attending amateur soccer matches in Rochester and became convinced that professional soccer was the sport of the future in the US. Became the majority owner of Rochester’s first professional soccer team in 1967, christening the new team the “Lancers”, the nickname of his collegiate alma mater, the University of Windsor (Ontario).
Became President of the American Soccer League soon after the Lancers joined in 1967. Arranged and headed up the Lancers radio broadcasts, the first team in the US to provide this type of media coverage. Before the 1970 season, when the North American Soccer League was down to 4 teams and ready to fold, spearheaded the Lancers and the ASL Champion Washington Darts shift to the NASL, thus saving the league and enabling the soccer boom in the late 1970’s to happen in the US. Brought in Wall of Fame coach Sal DeRosa of the ASL Syracuse Scorpions, and 5 of his players, including Wall of Famers Frank Odoi and Claude Campos, to Rochester in mid-1970 and the additions sparked the Lancers to the NASL title.
During the Lancers years, served as General Manager, Secretary, Treasurer, Radio and Television Announcer and even Coach of the team. Holds the record for best winning percentage of any coach in Lancers’ history, losing just 1 of 9 matches. Served on the Executive Committee and the Competition Committee of the NASL and was the unofficial chairman of proceedings at all NASL meetings. Invented the 35 yard offsides line that was used in the NASL for many seasons.
Attended Aquinas High School, the University of Windsor and Albany Law School. A long-time and well-respected attorney in Rochester. Served as the Rochester City Councilman for the Northwest District from 1971-1979 and earned the nickname “Lonesome Charlie” for being the only Republican on the Council. Began and hosted the first-ever soccer radio talk show in North America in 1994, “Soccer is a Kick in the Grass”, which began its record 18th season on the air in 2011. A man whose contributions to the infancy and development of professional soccer in the US, along with his devotion and dedication to the Rochester Lancers, have helped to make the sport what it is today in our country.