AC Glen Cove are synonymous with soccer on Long Island and Armand Alpian is synonymous with AC Glen Cove. He has been involved with the club going back to the 1980s and was Coach and GM during the club’s most successful period in the LISFL. Read more
Article originally appreared in Soccer Long Island Magazine
By David Harris
AC Glen Cove are synonymous with soccer on Long Island and Armand Alpian is synonymous with AC Glen Cove. He has been involved with the club going back to the 1980s and was Coach and GM during the club’s most successful period in the LISFL. Before the current LISFL season began, AC Glen Cove brought Armand back to try and bring back the success it enjoyed during it’s "Golden Years" as Armand puts it. Recently, Armand took the time to reflect on his years in the game, his accomplishments, and soccer on Long Island.
DH: How is the current season going with AC Glen Cove in the LISFL?
AA: From a coaching point of view very promising and also very frustrating. With the exception of a few players, the whole team is made up of all first year players, very talented and a nice bunch of kids. The frustrating part is we can’t put a full team on the field in any given week due to work, travel schedules and also of a lot of injuries. The weeks that we had a majority of our players, we won or were in the game for the most part. Going ahead, we are recruiting more players to add depth to the roster which is our weakness.
DH: What are your thoughts as the team heads into the second half of the season and looks to rebound from a slow start?
AA: Our main problems were in defense and now that we are signing some players going into the second half of the season so we should do fine. Also the team is slowly settling down, and the players are slowly getting adjusted to the system and also to each other,. We are still looking for good individuals, and talented players to strengthen our club.
DH: Can you describe some of the best moments in the history of AC Glen Cove?
AA: We are celebrating the 62nd year of the club’s existence in the LISFL. As our league president mentioned couple weeks ago in a speech, Glen Cove AC is the winningest team in LISFL history. Our "Golden Years" were in the 1990’s where between 1989 to 2002 we won more than thirty titles between our first and reserve division teams. Several had consecutive titles in the league, state, super, and u-23 cups that highlighted those glorious years. Richard Nuttall, Paul Riley, Nick Samsom, Carlo Acquista, Danny Longo, Carl Christian, John Wolyniac, Dahir Mohammed, Peter Zaratin, Simon Riddiough, Danny and Stefan Mueller, Matt Mazzilli and a lot of other accomplished soccer figures became a part of Glen Cove AC soccer family during those Golden Years. We also had a team in the NEPSL that won titles several times.
DH: What do you think about the level of competition in the LISFL and opportunity the league provides for players to keep the game at a highly competitive level?
AA: LISFL has been providing this opportunity for local soccer players for decades. It is for fun and also has been used as stepping stone while keeping in shape and waiting and looking for opportunities to move up. The level of competition is extremely high and serious players can really find what they are looking for.
DH: What is your background in soccer and how did that lead you to your current position?
AA: I was born in Europe and played soccer since I was six years old. I played for Fenerbahce youth team before I came to the U.S. for College. Played for NJIT for three years while getting my Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA). After graduating I played in the local leagues for years for different clubs. Several injuries lead to three hip and two replacements and I had to quit playing. Started Bayside S.C. in 1980. The team got promoted to the first division of LISFL in two seasons. In 1989 My good friend Tony Cangero and I got together and decided that the best solution for the survival of our clubs were to combine the two clubs, and we did. Tony continued as president of LISFL and also of Glen Cove and I took over as coach and G.M. and the journey began. In the meantime I attended courses and received my soccer coaching licenses.
DH: What have been some of your best experiences in soccer?
AA: Each trophy that we won year after year becomes addictive and those were the best year in soccer. Also All-American Tournament that LISFL U-23 team that I coached winning that tournament three years in a row was another high.
DH: What are your thoughts about soccer on Long Island in terms of where it could improve?
AA: We have a new president in Gus Xikis and knowing him for many years and believing in him that he thinks the same way Tony Cangero did, that we are and will correct the direction of the ship by promoting soccer on the Island the proper way. We all will benefit from the existence and also the League will benefit from the youth of the Island and will get stronger. We have been in a dull period for a while as far as soccer is concerned (on the Island).
DH: What advice would you have for a young person who’s looking to improve as a player?
AA: First and foremost listen to advice and criticism, and try to improve yourself in those areas by working as much and as hard as you can. You have to love the game to a level that, you have to sleep with a soccer ball. Besides school, you have to put aside all the distraction of society, and practice as much as you can and play as many pick-up games as you can. Do not listen to the age groupings that they come up with. You have to play with older players as much as you so you can learn. Be open-minded to grab some tips and advice from every player that you are sharing the soccer field with. Find and be available to play every game, every place, everyday with anybody. Then by listening to coaching tips and advice you will achieve your goals. Also watch the top players, coaches and listen and imitate their sucessful habits.
DH: What advice do you have for any coaches that are involved in coaching yung players?
AA: Today a lot of the coaches I see are only thinking wins and losses. Not too many coaches care about the players welfare and improvement. To be successful you have to protect and try to improve your players. You have to observe and see their qualities and build a foundation for them for their future thru sports. Every player will not end up to be a professional player. So it is imperative that through soccer they learn how to interact will others, learn to respect the game, the rules of the game, the officials, their teammates, their opponents, their uniforms, and learn to lose with dignity and use the loss as a building stone for improvement and also be eloquent, humble and level-headed when you are winning. If you can instill those values in your players as a coach, you have succeeded not only as a coach but as a leader and a human being. Then they will remember and respect you forever.
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