FPSC: How many years did you play in Floral Park?
Chris: I played in Floral Park from 1974 to 1984 and I have coached in Floral Park from 2011 to present day.
FPSC: What team/teams did you play on?
Chris: The first couple of years, I played on the "Green" team, made up of the public school kids. The "Red" team was made up of the catholic school kids. We were the only two teams at the time and we were in a travel league as there was not enough interest to start our own league. When the intramural league began, there were sponsors for each team much like baseball today. Pick a business in Floral Park and they were on a jersey. I was particularly proud to have played for Cippitelli Brothers Collision. That was a great team coached by a great guy, Fred Santomero.
FPSC: Did you play in High School? If so what school?
Chris: I played goalkeeper at Holy Cross High School from 1982 to 1986. We were undefeated city champs in my sophomore and senior seasons
FPSC: Did you play in college? If so what college?
Chris: I played intramural soccer at Pratt Institute strictly for fun and in 2005, I dusted off my cleats to play in an "over 30" league for five years.
FPSC: What were some of your fondest memories of playing for the Indians?
Chris: I have nothing but fond memories of playing in Floral Park. I had great coaches and great teammates, some of who I still call friends. It was a good escape for me in an otherwise crazy time in my life. I hit my stride when a coach decided to put me in net after realizing how slow I was. I still have memories of "highlight reel" saves that I made LOL.
FPSC: Do you have any advice for younger athletes playing now?
Chris: The obvious advice to kids today is to simply have fun. Play hard, be kind to each other and just freaking win baby! I can also say that playing on a soccer team in an organized fashion will give you a lot of tools that you can utilize in your adult life. Things like teamwork, winning and losing gracefully, seeing the results of hard work, that's all part of life.
FPSC: Back then, would you consider the Indians Organization a serious or just a fun league?
Chris: The first few years of Indians soccer were more serious than they needed to be. No one, including coaches, players and parents, knew any better. It was all brand new. We played 45 minute halves on a full size field with full size nets in towns as far as Bohemia. We were six years old! We were lucky to have coaches of European dissent (who didn't even have kids on those teams). These guys were the real deal and put all they had into teaching us the beautiful game. Even though we could hardly understand what they were saying, we picked up on their passion. They helped create some fine players.
FPSC: Could you describe generally the overall feeling of what the kids, parents, games or coaches were like back then?
Chris: The intramural league in the 70's and 80's was pretty laid back. If you were a serious, player,
you got snatched up by the travel team. The parents still didn't know the game too well but they were supportive nonetheless and the sideline antics were few. Most of the coaches
didn't know the game too well either but they volunteered anyway. For that, they have my greatest respect.
It was the 70's and there was definitely was a Bad News Bears vibe to some of my teams. We had coaches that smoked on the sidelines, coaches that piled 10 of us in a car to get to a game, refs that were drunk. We would be getting crushed but those orange slices at half time made it all worth while. It was a scene, man!
FPSC: How do you feel about your overall experience from Indians Soccer then and now?
Chris: I consider myself lucky to have been there at the beginning and even luckier to be able to coach my son today.
Chris's Newspaper Clippings!