Donato Cellucci has been associated with only one soccer club in his life — N.Y. Hota Bavarian S.C. (Photo by Vincent Treglia)
QUEENS, N.Y. — Donato Cellucci, who has been with only one soccer club in his life, has been rewarded for his dedication and longevity in the game.
Cellucci was inducted into the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame Sunday night.
The current president if the N.Y. Hota/Bavarian S.C. has done just about everything one can do with a club. After emigrating from Italy Feb. 18, 1966, Cellucci began his American soccer experience with the Under-14 team when the club was known as the Bavarian Soccer Club and earned a spot on the first team that competed in the German-American Soccer League (now Cosmopolitan Soccer League) and eventually joined the Over-30 squad.
After winning the Dr. Manning Cup in 1975, the club merged with N.Y. Hota S.C. as Cellucci played with the first team until 1983 and with the O-30 side through 1990.
ENYSSA second vice president Gus Xikis, who introduced Cellucci to the audience at Verdi’s of Whitestone, remembered the Hota player as one tough foe.
“I played against him. I was a goalkeeper,” Xikis said. “Thank God he was a defender. He never had a chance to come by me. Sometimes on corner kicks he would come up. He was a dirty player, let me tell you.”
Of course, he was only joking in that last comment.
Then Xikis got serious.
“He worked very hard for the league,” he said. “Any time we need favors, he’s always there. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.”
After hanging up his boots for good, Cellucci coached several junior teams and he still coaches Hota’s Over-30 team in the Long Island Soccer Football League.
During his acceptance speech, Cellucci looked back at his soccer career, sometimes seriously, sometimes jokingly, sometimes humbly.
“The opportunity to play for only one club,” he said. “Never wanted to play pro. Never wanted to do anything except curse at the referees once in a while. But I enjoyed every bit of it.
“I want to thank everybody for putting me up here. It’s just something else I appreciate.”