Marciano Cipriano long has been a fixture with Forest Park SC and North Shore SC. (Photo by Vincent Treglia)
QUEENS — Marciano Cipriano was destined to make his mark in soccer.
He grew up playing street soccer in a small southern town called Villamaina in the province of Avellino, Italy.
“We’re lucky that Marciano’s father was a hard man and he made him got to work,” said FDNY and Eastern New York State Soccer Association trustee Joe Brosi, who once played for the College Point Flames. “Marciano played only street soccer and not organized soccer. He tells me if he had played organized soccer, he would have played Serie A, stayed in Italy; and he’d be interviewing for the coach the Italian national team right now.”
As it turns out, Italy’s loss became New York soccer’s game. Cipriano was inducted into the Eastern New York Soccer Hall of Fame for his dedication and hard work about the beautiful game at the recent ENYSSA’s dinner at Verdi’s of Whitestone.
After emigrating to the United States at the age of 16 in 1972, Cipriano lived on Long Island and met Pasquale DeLuca, the founder of the Forest Park Soccer Club and wound up playing for the club’s reserve team in the Long Island Soccer Football League.
When Forest Park needed a reserve coach, DeLuca asked Cipriano to take over. He wound up coaching directing the reserve team as the club won two league titles, two LISFL Cup championship and the Cangero Cup.
Not surprisingly, Cipriano made an impact well off the field, becoming an LISFL trustee, vice president, treasurer, arbiter and director of the league’s indoor tournament.
He is a trustee with ENYSSA and a Life Member since 2008.
As a member of the North Shore Soccer Club for more than 30 years, Cipriano has made an impact with youth Soccer. He served as president of the club and is vice president today.
He has seen the club grow from 180 intramural players and four travel teams to about 850 players and 20 travel teams.
“They have had a lot of success there,” Brosi said.
Cipriano’s sons went on to play Division I school, Michael at Northeastern University, Daniel at Manhattan College.
“And the true reward came, the circle was complete when both boys eventually came back to play for their dad at Forest Park,” Brosi said.
In his acceptance speech, Cipriano thanked the association and his wife.
“For me to get this award, I really appreciate it,” he said. “I would like to thank the committee for voting for me. I would like to thank [ENYSSA president] Sal Rapaglia for his hard work and dedication for all the years to the state association. He’s been unbelievable. I want to thank [ENYSSA 2nd vice president] Gus Xikis for recommending me for the Hall of Fame. Thank you.
“I’ve been blessed during my time in soccer. First of all I want to thank my wife Patricia. She also supported me 100 percent, always there for me because I went to the field every Sunday, attending meetings over the years and she made a lot of sacrifices. I’m very grateful for that. You can’t do anything without support from your wife.
“Michael and Danny are here because they love the game just like I love. Again, I am blessed with that to be able to see them play their youth and college games. That was the best experience for a father who will never forget. I learned so much from them.”
Cipriano related an incident when coached Michael when his son was 10-years-old. He yelled at the team.
“In front of all of the parents, he ran to the sideline and said, ‘Dad, it’s only a game,’ ” Cipriano said with a laugh.
“That was such an incredible message for me. Soccer is only a game and we should always treat it that way so we can enjoy it.”
Cipriano also acknowledged three mentors — DeLuca and two others who have passed away — LISFL president Tony Cangero and North Shore SC president Neil Capobianco. He thanked the former for allowing him to coach at Forest Park, Cangero for getting him involved in the league and being a teacher and Capobianco, who got him involved with his soccer club’s youth program.
“When you start you never thought about getting awards,” he added. “That’s something that comes from nowhere. So, we do it because we enjoy the game. We do it because we want to see soccer grow in this country. But the best thing we get out of it, is the friendship that we have created over the years that we’ll never forget. It will last for a lifetime and that’s what it’s all about.”