By Michael Lewis
Sometimes a soccer writer does not get an opportunity to cover everything they want.
Different assignments will take you here, there and everywhere in New York, the United States and occasionally, internationally.
Saying that, I have had the privilege of covering the New York Magic (the club has competed in the New York Metropolitan Women’s Soccer League, United Women’s Soccer and W-League) on occasion, whether it was an Eastern New York State Soccer Association Cup encounter, the Mayor’s Cup or in UWS.
In 1995, I covered a series of Mayor’s Cup matches at Flushing Meadows Corona Park for the New York Daily News. In the women’s division, the Magic defeated the Queens Women’s Soccer League select team in a shootout, 2-1. I wrote that Lyndelle Phillips scored the lone regular goal for the winners and that a 14-year-old goalkeeper – Maria Yatrakis made two saves in the penalty-kick tie-breaker.
I made the ultimate blunder by putting in Phillips’ age in the story, which enraged the Magic forward. She didn’t exactly like that I let the entire city of New York knew how old she was. While I understood where Phillips was coming from, I wanted to impress the age difference between her and Yatrakis, who would go on to backstop the Greek women’s national side at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics.
Phillips was an impact player and was inducted into the Eastern New York Hall of Fame in 2010, joining her husband Nino DePasquali, who had become a member several years prior. She also been named to the USL Hall of Fame and was named W-League executive of the year in 2010.
To demonstrate to the world that I don’t make the same mistake twice, I am not putting Phillips’ age in this story. She and DePasquali have teamed to become the dynamic duo of women’s soccer for years. DiPasquali coaches the Magic and Phillips tallied goal and took care of off-the-field matters as club general manager and president.
To demonstrate to the world that I don’t make the same mistake twice, I am not putting Phillips’ age in this story. I am not that stupid.
But I must admit what she accomplished on Sept. 11, 2001 was ageless and will go well beyond what Phillips achieved on any soccer pitch.
Phillips led her co-workers to safety down 65 flights of stairs in the South Tower after a plane crashed into the building. If she hadn’t, Phillips and her colleagues would have perished when the building came crashing down.
Every Sept. 11, I post the story of Phillips’ heroics, wanting to remind the soccer community that great things can be accomplished well off the field.
Here is a link to that 911 story so you won’t have to wait until September to read it and appreciate Phillips’ heroics: