Pele started a soccer boom in the United States in the seventies. 

Pele heads the 2020 class of the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame, it was announced Sunday afternoon.

The former Cosmos superstar and Brazilian international will be inducted into the Hall Fame along with six standouts who mark their mark on Long Island soccer:

* St. John’s University standout Chris Wingert, a St. John the Baptist graduate who had a long MLS career that included a stint with New York City FC

* Goalkeeper Paul Grafer, who tended goal for the Long Island Rough Riders and the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the Red Bulls

* Gary Sullivan, a standout with the Rough Riders

* Mary Frances Monroe, a former college star and member of the U.S. women’s national team

* And Tina and Vicky DiMartino, who forged their reputations performing for the Massapequa Soccer Club and Albertson Soccer Club, in college and then for U.S. youth national teams. Both played professionally as Tina also performed with the USWNT.

The LI Soccer Player Hall of Fame Gala at the Huntington Hilton in Melville, N.Y. Saturday, March 7.

Pele, who played for the Cosmos from 1975-77, helped ignite a soccer boom in the United States two generations ago that is still being felt by the country today. Pele already is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

“Too many parents and kids on Long Island currently playing soccer have no idea of the amazingly rich history we have here on Long Island,” LI Soccer Player Hall of Fame founder Kevin L. McCrudden said in a statement. “In fact, most soccer parents and families probably don’t know that the greatest soccer player of all time, Pele played and lived here on Long Island for many years!

“And, while he now spends most of his time in his home country of Brazil, he will hopefully be inducted into this year’s Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame Class of 2020! I can barely contain myself!  Imagine creating something, like the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame and having the opportunity to induct the greatest player in the history of the game and have one of your best friend’s run the organization for you?! Today, is a banner day.”

Upon receiving word of his election, Wingert said, “As a proud Long Island native, and someone who will always consider this great place home, I am truly honored to be inducted into the LI Soccer Player Hall of Fame. It’s humbling to be mentioned in the same breath as the other inductees. Thank you to the many great coaches and teammates I had the pleasure of playing for and with. Most of all, thanks to my family who helped me to accomplish my childhood dream of becoming a professional soccer player.”

More details on the induction will be released in the near future.

Here is the full list of the current 48 members of the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame (29 men and 17 women):


CLASS of 2013

Shep Messing

Chris Armas

Paul LeSueur

Kim Wyant


CLASS of 2014

Sara Whalen (Hess)

Sue Ryan

Jackie Shannon

Ritchie Kotshau

Dominic Pedone


CLASS of 2015

Mike Windischmann

Emily Pickering (Harner)

Tommy Lang

Alan Bodenstein


CLASS of 2016

Giovanni Savarese

Paul Riley

Jim Rooney

Mike Masters

Kevin Anderson

Danny Mueller

Danielle Egan (Reyna)
Jim Kilmeade*

 Steve Cadet


CLASS of 2017

Kim Conway

Gina Tucker

Laura Martin

Caitlin Connolly

Traci Sofsian Maier

Dina Grossman-Case

Christie Welsh


CLASS of 2018

Alain Maca

Dan McCrudden

Ron Eden

John McCrudden

Christopher W. Tyson

Ronnie Atanasio

Jim McGeough*

Bobby Auletta



CLASS of 2019

Carlos Mendes

Jennifer Tiejten

Margaret Tiejten

Tommy Lips


CLASS of 2020


Chris Wingert

Gary Sullivan

Paul Grafer

Mary Ellen Monroe

Vicky DiMartino

Tina DiMartino