Joe Goldberg Oceanside Dinner

 Oceanside United celebrates Goldberg’s 48 years in soccer

By Michael Lewis Editor
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September 28, 2010
Oceanside United celebrates Goldberg’s 48 years in soccer

By Michael Lewis Editor

OCEANSIDE, N.Y. -- The Oceanside United Soccer Club and the Eastern New York soccer community got together on Saturday, Sept. 26 to say thank you to one of its pioneers of the game.

Joe Goldberg, one of the co-founders of the club along with Ian McDougall in 1962, was honored by the Long Island Junior Soccer League club at a special dinner at the Oceanside Jewish Center.

Friends and even some foes came out to laud Goldberg, who, along with his wife, Miriam, has moved from their Oceanside home where he lived for 52 years and moved to Connecticut to be closer to their daughter.

"Joe Goldberg had a significant influence in the lives of many people here tonight," said McDougall, who remembers how Goldberg used "his honesty, integrity and his sheer determination to overcome adversity."

McDougall wasn’t alone talking about the 82-year-old Goldberg.

"After his family, his reason for being was soccer," Long Island Soccer Football League president Bruce Friedman said. "His contributions could never be mentioned."

"Everybody knows him," Eastern New York State Amateur Soccer Association president Mario Treglia said. "They all respected you because he is an institution."

"If you know Joe, he would probably say, ’I don’t now what all the fuss is about,’ " said Joe Bussa, the LIJSL’s ENYYSA district commissioner.

The fuss was about a lot of things.

A former player who was born in Czechoslovakia, Goldberg became a soccer administrator, coach, referee, one of the founders of Soccer Week, the weekly publication that gave the sports’ supporters information about the beautiful game before the advent of the internet, among many other roles and responsibilities.

"Joe was always about the kids," said Mike D’Ambrosio, a former Oceanside player who is the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association registrar.

"For Joe, it’s the number of people’s lives who he touched," D’Ambrsio said. "Joe gave them a place to play. Joe would pick you up in his van, feed you -- forget about risk management -- and bring you home."

Goldberg did it all, from buying the uniforms -- which were used over and over again by several teams to save money -- to washing them.

Oceanside United S.C. was created before the LIJSL as we know today some 48 years ago. Looking for competition, the club turned its sights on the German-American Soccer League in New York City, which is probably better known as the Cosmopolitan Junior Soccer League today.

Ben Boehm, the youth director of B.W. Gottschee, which played against Oceanside, remembered what it was like coming to Long Island.

"We were coming to the front, coming to the wild west," he said. "We were playing against American kids who were being schooled in this sport. The only place they could go was the old GASL."

Then there was Oceanside and Goldberg.

Goldberg was a force onto himself. He could be stubborn and never back down from an argument. But he stood fast.

"Joe was like a tornado," Boehm said. "A number of us had arguments with him. But he knew what he wanted to do. He will this organization into existence."

Speaking for many of the former Oceanside players -- more than a dozen showed up for the dinner, Ron Atanasio remembered how he met Goldberg, He was at Oceanside Junior High School watching boys play soccer. He wound up starring at Adelphi University and as a first-round draft pick of the New York Cosmos, enjoying a 10-year professional career.

"These two gentlemen gave me an opportunity to excel in the sport I love," Atanasio said of Goldberg and McDougall. "I can truly tell you this is a unique man. Without the opportunity you had given me, I probably wouldn’t be playing soccer."

Another ex-Oceanside youth player, Bob (Eggy) Ebert, agreed and elaborated. Ebert said he was the first captain of Goldberg’s first team.

"It had nothing to do with my soccer skills," he said. "But Joe saw something in me that no one had seen since."

Dr. Emilio DelPiore, the coach of Oceanside’s Over-30 team, remembered the first time he met Goldberg -- as a five-year-old.

DelPiore wondered why his parents were "leaving me with this crazy Czech guy with orange and blue jerseys and why did he kick my shins to make sure I had shin guards on?"

Goldberg wasn’t just a mentor for players, but for coaches as well.

Oceanside S.C. president Steve Padaetz, who once coached intramural soccer, remembered when he had to visit Goldberg’s home and see the administrator’s basement to get Oceanside S.C. patches for an intramural soccer tournament. Padaetz called the basement the "inner sanctum" because the basement was a soccer museum, comprised of trophies, banners, patches, newspaper clippings and other soccer memorabilia.

"This was a rite of passage," Padaetz said.


Then came the negotiations for the patches.

Goldberg offered 75. Padaetz needed 100.

He promised he would return any leftovers.

After the tournament Goldberg never relented on getting the leftover patches back.

As it turned out, Padaetz never returned them all -- until Saturday night.

"It has been bothering me for 18 years," he said.

After making his speech at the podium, Padaetz walked over to Goldberg’s table, got down on his knees.

"I hope you will forgive me," Padaetz said. "I give you these two patches back."

A quick video was shown as Oceanside youth teams shouted, "Thanks Joe!"

Speaking for the club, Padaetz gave Joe and Miriam Goldberg his and her time pieces.

"It would be difficult for us to encapsulate your devotion, your 48 years, your passion," he said. "Time is a valuable possession."

After having heaps of praise on him and receiving trophies, mementos and gifts, Goldberg finally got an opportunity to speak.

Age and a stroke has limited how quickly he can move and sometimes talk, but he made his point.

Goldberg said one of his goals "was one important thing. I wanted to see soccer succeed in the United States. To that extent I made my primary objective to get the sport accepted by the United States. To a certain degree we have [reached] that [objective].

"I think eventually the sport will be more popular."

Goldberg certainly held up his end of the bargain.