The Mineola Portuguese Soccer Club (“MPSC”) of the Mineola Portuguese Center held its 5th annual holiday dinner at Bairrada Restaurant On December 10.
MLS Star and former MPSC player Carlos Mendes and New York Cosmos Head Coach & Venezuelan National Team player Giovanni Savarese surprised everyone, showing up to sign autographs for the kids and speak to all in attendance about the resurgence of the sport on Long Island. The next day Mendes was officiallyannounced as the first signing of the New York Cosmos, who return to professional soccer in 2013.
In addition to the players, family and friends of the two adult teams and 10 youth teams, the dinner was packed with notable and surprise guests.
Club Vice-President Gabriel Marques kicked off the evening’s events by recognizing the hard work and dedication of the board of directors, which included president Marco Dafonte, vice-presidents Michael Carlos, Danny Carlos & Georgi Spanos, team Head Coach Terry Uellendahl and youth director Dave Neves.
Marques also recognized a handful of Mineola locals, such as Manny Carvalho, Leroy Barroca, orthopedist Dr. Dave Periera and Rosa Leal for all their support to the organization. Gary Grossman, president and founder of the Just Say Soccer league (“JSS”) also had a few words to say about the organization’s contributions to the growth of the JSS, soccer as a whole on Long Island and even commended the club’s good-will mission to Argentina this past summer. Grossman went on to distribute balls and other gifts to all the children in attendance as a thank you to the club.
“We could not ask for more,” Dafonte said. “To think that five years ago it was just a few of us having dinner to celebrate the holidays and now it has now sold-out for the past three years- everyone here is to thank for this.”