Newman soccer get inspiration from hall of fame inductees

Former Cardinal Newman Soccer coach Marc Kovacs (Photo: Ron Bernardo/HamiltonScores)

Former Cardinal Newman Soccer coach Marc Kovacs (Photo: Ron Bernardo/HamiltonScores)

Fans of the Cardinal Newman boys’ high school soccer program in Hamilton have reason to celebrate the team’s accomplishments from both this season and the distant past.

It was recently announced that two Newman products – former player Lou Nagy and long-time teacher/coach Marc Kovacs – are among those in the Class of 2013 being inducted into the Hamilton Soccer Hall of Fame. The second-annual induction dinner takes place April 12 at 6 p.m. at Michelangelo Banquet Centre.

Kovacs was at the controls of the CN Express for 32 years. His squads rolled to numerous city, regional and provincial titles. Four times, in fact, Newman went all the way for gold medals at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations level.

Kovacs retired five years ago.

One year after Nagy graduated from Newman in 1978 he was a member of Canada’s Under-20 national team which competed at the World Youth Championships in Tokyo. He went on to play in the National Soccer League for the Toronto Blizzard and Atlanta Chiefs before suiting up for six more professional seasons with Denver and Baltimore of the Major Indoor Soccer League.

Nagy, who also won a national men’s championship with the Hamilton Steelers in 1986, is technical director of the Ancaster Soccer Club.

Current CN soccer coach Gerry Moretuzzo spoke with pride of the Newman additions to the soccer shrine. He made the comments Wednesday (March 27) at Players Paradise Sports Complex after his team defeated the St. Mary Crusaders 7-1 in a Hamilton Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association indoor soccer quarter-final playoff.

“Lou was probably our first true face of Newman soccer,” Moretuzzo said. “We went to the same elementary school so, as a kid, I used to go watch Lou and Newman play. He’s been all over North America … pretty cool.

“As for Marc, talk about a foundation. Talk about an icon in the sport.”

Moretuzzo said many of the coaches in the Hamilton Catholic league (including himself) used to play for Kovacs. “I might not be the best coach,” Moretuzzo said, “but I love the game. That’s a testament to Marc and what he brought. He put that passion out there for everybody.”

In Wednesday’s other opening playoff round games, Bishop Ryan Celtics edged St. Thomas More Knights, 3-1, and Cathedral Gaels blanked St. Jean de Brebeuf Braves, 2-0. First-place Bishop Tonnos Titans had a bye.

Cardinal Newman led a shortstaffed St. Mary squad 2-0 at the half before pulling away. The Crusaders had only three substitutes, compared to nine for Newman. Anthony Valeri and Anton Buretic scored twice each for the two-time defending champions. Singles went to Patrick Ciaramella, Marcus DiLoreto and Patrick Skubliac.

“It looks like we’re starting to gel,” Moretuzzo said of his second-place finishers. “We finally got Phil (Gillen) back, our goalie from the last couple of years. He’s a great athlete and leader.”

Until recently Gillen was a key player for the two-time league champion Cardinal Newman Cardinals basketball team which won a bronze medal at the OFSAA Quad A tournament a few weeks ago.

“I was really disappointed to lose the semi-final game,” Gillen said. “Our goal was gold, but we won bronze and that was awesome. I missed soccer, for sure.

“Indoor soccer is a lot different than outdoor. This game is quicker. More touches on the ball. Reaction times are faster. Balls are coming in a lot harder to the goalies. It’s a lot more difficult.”

Cathedral got goals by Anton Dushenko and Emmanuel Tibadaros. Jorge Silva was in net for his third shutout of the season.

Bishop Ryan got goals by Michael Fortino, Joey Pacheco and Jacob Thompson, while Rob DeMelo replied for third-place More.

Cathedral will be Newman’s next opponent. That will be Wednesday (April 3) at 3:40 p.m. at Players Paradise.

“It’s been a long time since Cathedral has been in the semi-finals,” said coach Mike DiClaudio of the fifth-place Gaels. “We worked our butts off today and played smart. We got some key steals and outhustled them.”

Tickets for the Hall of Fame dinner are $60 and can be purchased at the main office at Cardinal Newman. Others being inducted are Guy Anelli (official), the 1986 Hamilton Steelers (team), Bob Magee and Duncan Beattie (builders), plus Jimmy Sinclair and Ardo Perri (players).