The Long Island Soccer Football League (LISFL) recently honored its champions at its annual awards dinner this past month, which included two Mineola Portuguese Soccer Club (a division of the Portuguese American Club) members, former state cup winning coach Jack Dafonte and current vice-president Gabriel Marques.
Dafonte, who has been involved in Mineola soccer for over three decades, was nominated earlier this year for the “25 Years-of-Service” award given annually by the Eastern NY State Amateur Soccer Association (ENYSASA) – applauded by veterans of the sport for his two state-cup championships in the 1980’s. Dafonte is only the second person from Mineola to win the award, next to club co-founder and state hall-of-famer John Pereira. The 25-year award is generally a prerequisite to ENYSASA hall of fame nomination, which the club intends to pursue.
“It would be a deep honor to have Mr. Dafonte in the hall of fame next to Pereira, he deserves it after his life-long commitment to helping hundreds of players develop as adults and members of this community,” said Marco Dafonte, Jack’s son and Mineola Portuguese’s current President.
A month later, club vice-president Gabriel Marques was honored by the Long Island Soccer Football League for his community service, receiving the 2012 “President’s Award.”
Marques was credited in a recent soccer documentary by a local university student for his work in compiling historical records about the sports history. He has worked with local government officials to increase the awareness of adult amateur soccer on Long Island and is also one of the co-founders of the annual Nassau County Executive Cup. Most notably, according to league President Gus Xikis, was Marques’ contributions in helping the LISFL bring its centerpiece game, the Cangero Cup, back to Mitchel Field after a 10-year absence.
In his speech, Gabriel thanked the board and the league’s membership for the award, saying that there is still more that he intends to do in improving the experience of the “over 100,000 registered children and adults who play soccer every weekend here on Long Island and New York City.”