Frank Carricchio (second, top left), during the Italian American Sport Club’s 50th anniversary celebration of winning the 1963 U.S. Amateur Cup title in 1963, will be among four men inducted into the Lancers Wall of Fame Saturday. (Photo by Michael Lewis)
The Rochester Lancers will induct four new members into their Wall of Fame Saturday.
The inductees will include three players — Frank Carricchio, Manfred Seissler and Jim Pollihan — and the late newspaper columnist Bruno Sniders.
The quartet will be honored at halftime of the Lancers’ final regular-season home game against the Erie Commodores of the National Premier Soccer League season at Charles Schiano Field at Aquinas Institute at 4 p.m. that day.
Each inductee brought something special to the game of the soccer and the Lancers.
Carricchio, a native of Italy, became an outstanding forward at Charlotte High School in Rochester, N.Y. before joining the Italian American Sport Club. He became an outstanding defender and helped anchor the backline of the IASC side that captured the 1963 U.S. Amateur Cup championship. The success of the team had spur greater interest of soccer in the Rochester area and let to the creation of the Lancers.
Usually a backline player for the IASC, Carricchio turned attacker to help the team record a win over Patchogue in the 1966 Eastern Amateur Cup finals. He called it a highlight of his IASC career.
“We were losing 1-0,” he said. “The last 10 minutes I told the coach to move me up because in high school I played forward. The last two minutes of the game I scored the tying goal. It was very exciting and in overtime we won 4-1. We had lost to them before. As [an] amateur player for this club, it definitely was the highest.”
Like many amateur players, Carricchio and his teammates played for the love of the game, not for the love of their bank account.
“It was not the money,” he said. “It was passion. You got hooked. Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but maybe it’s like you have a drink of wine and you like to have another drink. You play soccer and you play more and more. That’s what it was. You get hooked on the sport. Luckily for 99 percent of us, our families helped us out. They knew this is what we wanted to do. They really came together for us, followed us and we were appreciative of them.”
Carricchio played for the Lancers in their first three seasons in the American Soccer League from 1967-69.
A long-time Rochester resident, Carricchio also coached at local high schools.
A member of the Pittsburgh Phantoms of the National Professional Soccer League (forerunner of the North American Soccer League) in 1967, Seissler already was a wily veteran when he joined the Lancers for the 1971 North American Soccer League season.
The German-born striker was a thorn in Rochester’s side during the latter’s 1970 championship season, having scored six goals in four games against them. He spoiled the Lancers’ NASL home opener by striking twice in a 2-0 triumph May 3, 1970 and added four goals in a 6-2 rout at home.
Now 77, Seissler helped form a lethal one-two scoring punch with Carlos Metidieri, the NASL scoring champion, in 1971. Seissler his used speed, strength and vision of the game to confound opposing defenders and goalkeepers, recording 10 goals and seven assists.
Seissler, who made one appearance for the U.S. national team in 1973, also played with Montreal Olimpique (NASL) and Syracuse Scorpions (1974). He returned to Rochester and made one appearance with the Lancers in 1974.
A three-time NASL all-star, Seissler eventually became an assistant coach with the club and called Rochester his home.
Pollihan was selected by the Lancers as the second overall pick in the 1976 college draft. He was an outstanding forward at Quincy University (then called Quincy College), but Lancers head coach Dragan Popovic saw much potential in the young St. Louis native as a defender and deployed him at left back.
He went on to become one of the best Americans and best left backs in the league during his five-year tenure with the club, playing in 131 league matches.
The 62-year-old Pollihan also made 15 appearances with the U.S. national team during the time when international matches were tough to come by.
Pollihan, who captained the team for several seasons, also played indoor soccer with the New York Arrows, Houston Summit and Baltimore Blast in the Major Indoor Soccer League from 1978-84. In fact, Pollihan was the first player to score a goal in the MISL, connecting for the Arrows on opening night against Pete Rose’s Cincinnati Kids at the Nassau Coliseum in December 1978.
He went on to be an assistant coach with the Blast and was coach and general manager of the Harrisburg Heat from 1991-99.
Sniders is the only non-player in this year’s Wall of Fame Class. He wrote about the team more than any other writer, covering games and giving his commentary, first with the old Rochester Times-Union and then with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle from 1968 to the outdoor team’s demise in 1980.
He was never afraid to hold their feet to the fire, whether it was the owners, management, players or coaches. He was never afraid to take a controversial stand on a subject, even if meant he would wind up in the middle of it.
Sniders loved writing and sharing his opinions with the rest of the world. “Readers loved his style of writing which didn’t hold anything back,” his stepson Tom Grassadonia was quoted in the D&C in 2014. “When it came to his work as a journalist, he was known as a perfectionist.”
He passed away October 2014 at 78.
Former Lancers trainer Joe Sirianni, Lancers historian Andrew Battisti and FrontRowSoccer.com editor Michael Lewis comprise the Wall of Fame selection committee.