>Tourney honors Mingle
The Coaches v. Cancer ECIC-NFL Challenge at Sweet Home this past weekend was a great event for several reasons, and one of them was the special tribute to the late Tom Mingle.
Mingle was a West Seneca native and longtime Western New York soccer official who died of skin cancer on Sept. 5, 2008. On the one-year anniversary of his death, his fellow officials honored him at the 10-team event.
"Tommy refereed soccer, lacrosse and hockey, but soccer really was his main love -- not only did he love the game, but he loved being out here and being with the kids," official Steve Adamec said during a ceremony at halftime of Saturday's Sweet Home-Niagara Falls game. "I wouldn't be here, and many of us wouldn't be here to do high-level soccer games like this, if it wasn't for Tom. He was a mentor and really a special friend to each and every one of us."
The Mingle family was presented with a poster that was displayed throughout the event explaining his dedication to the sport, including becoming the first Buffalo official to become both a United States Soccer Federation National referee and a National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association referee.
"He just loved it -- he was all soccer," said Gerald Mingle, Tom's father. "[The event] is unbelievable, and for Tommy's sake. Just amazing."
Officials wore commemorative shirts during games which read "TOMMY" on the front and "We will never forget" on the back. One was worn by Tom Mingle's nephew, Hamburg JV player Joey D'Amato, who served as an honorary referee at Sweet Home.
"He dedicated most of his time to soccer and bringing people up as new referees," said Rick Mingle, Tom's brother.
One of those officials was close friend Islam Sallaj, who was mentored by Tom Mingle and eventually worked alongside him at soccer games from the high school, college and professional level.
"He was a really special person," said Sallaj, who also helped organize the event. "One thing he would always say is that referees are not all perfect. He was a big proponent of being professional, saying the right things on the field and off the field, and being a stand-up person."
Sweet Home coach Scott Martin, who was mentored by Mingle as an official before Martin became a coach, said the event raised more than $2,000, which will be split between the American Cancer Society and a scholarship fund that the Mingle family is setting up in his name.
"The most remarkable thing from tournament is that 20 officials not only bought a special shirt, they donated their game fees and more. That was unbelievable," Martin said.
Marin said he was planning to have an expanded ECIC-NFL Challenge in coordination with the Coaches vs. Cancer program that has been successful in college and high school basketball -- even before the effort to honor Mingle became part of the weekend.
A four-team ECIC-NFL Challenge had been held the previous three years. Martin is looking to expand the event even further to include more teams, and the effort to remember Mingle will continue as well.
There were plans to include more teams this year, but the state's cutting down of regular season games from 18 to 16 prevented some schools from getting involved. Teams like Clarence, Kenmore East and Lockport were already committed to other events.
First team: Jake Rinow-12 (Lancaster).
Second team: Goalie: Christopher Paradise-11 (Lockport). Defense: Dominic Passerino-10 (Allegany-Limestone). Midfield: Kurt Knolle-11 (East Aurora). Forward: Matt McCoy-11 (Lockport).
Third team: Defense: Kevin Reilly-11 (Canisius). Forward: Barry Hunt-11 (East Aurora), Matt Campana-11 (Williamsville North).
Honorable mention: Luc Overthun-11 (St. Joe's), Zach Gelen-11 (Allegany-Limestone), Zack Schwartz-11 (Williamsville South), Brandon Simonecelli-11 (West Seneca East), Paul Morrison-11 (Niagara Falls), Mac Mangold-11 (Williamsville South), Sam Torrelli-10 (Akron).
>2008 final polls
Large schools: 1. Clarence; 2. Kenmore East; 3. Lockport; 4. Williamsville East; 5. Orchard Park; 6. Williamsville North; 7. Williamsville South; 8. Canisius; 9. Lancaster; 10. Starpoint.
Small schools: 1. East Aurora; 2t. Maple Grove; 2t. Akron; 4. Holland; 5. Nichols; 6. Chautauqua Lake; 7. Wilson; 8. City Honors; 9. Allegany-Limestone; 10. Westfield.
Section VI -- Class AA: Clarence. Class A: Kenmore East. Class B: East Aurora. Class C: Holland. Class D: Maple Grove. Buffalo City Schools' D'Youville Cup: Grover Cleveland. Monsignor Martin Association: Nichols. ECIC I: Clarence. ECIC II: Williamsville East. ECIC III: Springville/Starpoint. ECIC IV: East Aurora. Niagara Frontier League-Kenmore West, Niagara-Orleans: Akron. CCAA I: Allegany-Limestone. CCAA II: Chautauqua Lake. CCAA III: Maple Grove. IAC: Gow.
>Mark your calendar
The Amherst Tournament, which includes Canisius, Grand Island and Sweet Home, will be Thursday and Saturday while Lockport's Tournament, which includes St. Francis, Starpoint and Nichols, is set for Friday and Saturday. On Friday, St. Joe's at Wilson is a good matchup.
The first of many major Monsignor Martin battles will occur Sept. 14 when Nichols visits St. Joe's. . . . Canisius and St. Francis will both test themselves against Section V power Aquinas. . . . Clarence is at Penfield of Section V on Oct. 5 and at Canisius on Oct. 16. . . . Any game between the tough Williamsvilles -- North, South and East.
>On the Web
For much more boys soccer information, including players and teams to watch, go to the Prep Talk blog at blogs.buffalonews.com.