Carlo Bucich touched so many people in soccer. (Photo from Dimitrie Draguca’s Facebook page)

By Michael Lewis
FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Carlo Bucich, who made an impact at the youth and adult soccer levels, has passed away.

He was 81.

Bucich wore many hats in his long soccer career. He was president of the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League, first vice president of the Long Island Junior Soccer League and the co-founder and driving force between the Istria Soccer Club’s youth teams for several decades.

Tributes came flowing in for Bucich on Friday.

On Instagram, the LISFL said that Bucich “was a great friend to all and loved his family dearly. The word legend doesn’t begin to describe Carlo’s impact on the game in New York and upon all of us with the LISFL that knew him.”

Bucich was CJSL president from 2002-04.

“The Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League is mourning the passing of Carlo Bucich, former CJSL President, life member and dear friend,” the league said on Facebook. “Carlo’s work and dedication to our soccer community, the CJSL, and Istria SC will never be forgotten. Our deepest condolences to his family. May he Rest In Peace and his memory be eternal. πŸ˜žπŸ™πŸ»”

Bucich founded Istria S.C. in 1978, leading its youth teams for many years. He later coached adult teams from the club to several championships in the LISFL.

The LISFL’s Dave Harris knew and worked with Bucich for years.

“Carlo was always a true gentleman,” he said on Twitter. “Just really hard to hear this news. I’m really going to miss him and will always remember the many good times I had with and Gus [Xikis, late LISFL president] whether it was at the Istria club or at a diner after a league meeting. Just such a nice guy that loved the game, but most importantly loved his family dearly.”

One of Bucich’s special abilities was coaching children and getting the most out of them.

β€œOur first year was terrible, understandably,” Bucich told Queens Times-Ledger associate sports editor Dylan Butler in 2003. β€œI don’t think we came close to even tying a game, never mind winning, but the following year we won the β€˜B’ division with the Under-10 and three or four years after that we started increasing the number of teams. Within five years we had seven youth teams. We were hanging in there for three, four, five years. We were very successful.”

It should not come as any surprise that Bucich was a member of several Halls of Fame, including the Eastern New York State Soccer Association (inducted in 2004) LISFL (inducted in 2013) and CJSL.

Eliana Barco told Bucich’s daughter on Facebook: “My deepest condolences to you and your family πŸ˜’πŸ’”πŸ™πŸ» your dad was the best coach and sideline. I have no words I’m truly devastated and heartbroken πŸ’” your dad was the most gracious gentleman I have ever met in my life. I will never forget how he embraced my boys and all the encouragement he always gave Gianluca and Francesco on the soccer field and how he was their biggest fan!!!I’m sorry for your loss my deepest condolences and sympathy to your mom you and your family I love you all so much your my soccer family for life πŸ’”πŸ˜­”

Visitation is scheduled for Joseph Farenga and Sons, Inc. on Monday, Sept. 26, 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Farenga and Son’s address is 38-08 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria, N.Y. 11105.

Services will be held at St. Joseph’s RC Church on Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 11 a.m. with burial to follow at St. Michael’s Cemetery. St. Josephs is located at 43-19 30th Ave., Astoria, N.Y. 11103.