Original Lancers owner Charlie Schiano speaking at a team reunion years ago. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — While the Rochester Lancers looked toward the future in their home-opening doubleheader at Wegman’s Sports Complex at Aquinas Institute last Sunday, they also honored the past.
In pre-game ceremonies prior to the Lady Lancers-New York Magic match, original Lancers owner Charlie Schiano, the honorary team captain, was introduced to the crowd by current Lancers boss Soccer Sam Fantauzzo
“All you kids that play soccer, all you adults throughout the country that play soccer, the reason why you play soccer is because of the pioneers of the American soccer, the original and official and the only chairman of the board,” Fantauzzo said.
The crowd cheered.
Schiano, one of the primary Lancers’ owners along with the late Pat Dinolfo from 1967-1980, was the North American Soccer League team’s chairman of the board.
“I give you a lot of credit to keep this going,” Schiano replied. “Good luck to you this year.”
Sam Fantauzzo then had another surprise for Schiano and the crowd as the Lady Lancers were just about ready to take the field.
“This is just not about Charlie being honorary captain,” he said. “Lady Lancers players, hold on for a second if you don’t mind. Mr. Schiano is the reason why all you ladies are playing soccer. Back in 1967 he helped form all these youth clubs. Tonight, he is an honorary captain. From today on, the Lady Lancers and the Lancers who play at four o’clock … the name of this field here that will play at, the name of the field is going to be the Charlie Schiano Sr. Field. Let’s hear it for Charlie Schiano!”
Schiano then kicked out the first ball before the United Women’s Soccer match.
The Lady Lancers played the Magic to a 1-1 draw while the Lancers were beaten in stoppage time by the Dayton Dynamo in their National Premier Soccer League home opener, 2-1.
The Lancers will return to action at Syracuse FC Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Lady Lancers will be back in action at home in a June 4 doubleheader with the men’s side. The women kickoff at 1 p.m. against the Long Island Rough Riders, the men at 4 p.m. vs. the Fort Pitt Regiment.
For more information about the teams, visit www.RochesterLancers.com.