Marc Maturo’s official sports column
Samimi, Moger & Co. get a kick out of soccer
Danny Samimi Sr., a 30-yearmember of the Clarkstown Soccer Club and now its vice-president, has a deep and abiding interest in the sport. The 51-year-old one-time forward helps to oversee a program that embraces some 3,000 youngsters, including an estimated 2,500 at the recreational level and five teams for those players 18 and over.
Samimi, not surprisingly, has traveled the world in support of soccer, both as a youth coach and an avid fan.
Also not surprisingly, Samimi will be in Brazil this July to attend the semifinals and final, along with his wife, Diane, an accomplished marathon runner who this past year defied the odds and completed the Chicago and New York City marathons, and a half-marathon on Long Island, all within the span of one month.
“She’s not a soccer player,” laughed Samimi. “But let me tell you, if she met me when I was 15 she’d be playing soccer!”
Samimi’syoungest daughter, Samantha, an elementary school student, also is not a soccer player, but another daughter, Elizabeth, played at Clarkstown North HS and four years at Ramapo College in New Jersey. Then there is Danny Jr., a candidate at the police academy in New York, who captained the team at Clarkstown North and also played at the University of Delaware.
Danny the Younger, a former participant in the Clarkstown program, came back to give back as coach, as have many former youth players including club president John Moran of West Nyack.
“I coached him, but like many players, they come back and help us,” said Samimi the Elder, adding that John’s dad, Mike, of Nanuet, runs the recreation program.
Samimi is also proud to note that former Manchester United youth standout Kevin Grogan, 30, is now the club’s director of coaching, or DOC.
Grogan, whose career was shortened by a severe pelvis injury, was a member of the Irish national team that won a European championship.
“It’s very easy to take 18 and 19 year old kids and pick the best players, but I believe you must develop players, teach them the right game in different age groups,” notes Samimi, who treasures the value of adequate coaching. “You just don’t run them, but must develop footwork and skills, then bring in tactics at 10 to 12. You have to teach them the right way, the right coaching is a key.”
Samimi himself is active as a coach, with one of his U9 teams leaving for Orlando, Fla., on February 13 to compete in the Disney Cup, celebrated as one of the nation’s largest youth tournaments. Tournament games are scheduled February 16-18.
Clarkstown SC also has a couple of youth teams still alive in the New York State Cup, with the Round of 16 set for March 22.
The Senior Division, scheduled to start the season in March, embraces two Open teams for top-notch players from 18 to 30 years of age. Other teams are available for those 30 and over and another for those dedicated, diehard graybeards aged 40 and over.
Samimi credits several individuals who make the senior level viable, notably Joe Moger of Congers, longtime Rockland CC coach Loren Green, Manfred Stahl of West Nyack, and Frank Kcira of New City.
Samimi, who owns and operates D&D Deli in Nanuet, has quite a resume and played for the Hawks under Coach Green, later being inducted into the RCC Hall of Fame, and then achieved all-America status at Pace University. He’s also certified by the United States Soccer Federation and just like his dear friend Moger, who still plays despite pushing 70, intends to keep playing until playing becomes an impossible task.
Samimi then, obviously loves to discuss the intrepid Mr. Moger, who can usually be found standing, never sitting, at his liked-name auto repair shop in Nyack.
“I’ve known Joe for 30 years; he’s quite a character,” laughs Samimi, who then added, with more laughter: “I hope to take after him, but when you get to that age you don’t play soccer, you try to play soccer!”
Be that as it may, soccer has a way of getting into your blood.
Says Moger’s wife and chief assistant, Elizabeth: “When we bury him — who knows when, he’s never been sick, doesn’t have a doctor – but when we bury him we’re going to put a marble soccer ball by the headstone, so that whenever anyone goes to see him, they can kick the ball.”
MILESTONE: KC Jentzen of Pearl River, who soared over the 1,000-point plateau in a victory over Caldwell College, followed up with 10 points and eight rebounds as the Dominican College women’s basketball team defeated Georgian Court University, 69-58. Jentzen poured in a team-high 19 points against Caldwell while pulling down a career-high 17 rebounds. The Lady Chargers take to the road on February 1, meeting Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia at 1 p.m., and then travel to Bronxville on February 2 to challenge Concordia College at 5 p.m.
North Rockland varsity cheer placed third in the nation at their first ever national championship tournament. They also won the award for best tumbling.
TURNING PRO: Former St. Bonaventure University guard Alaina Walkerof Pomona will begin her professional basketball career in the top Portuguese league with Olivais Coimbra of Coimbra, Portugal. Olivais Coimbra is currently in seventh place in its league with an 8-5 record and will look to make a push at a playoff berth in April.As a senior for the Bonnies in 2012-13,
Walker, an alumna of Albertus Magnus HS, was second on the team with an average of 9.4 points per game. The versatile guard was also second on the team in rebounding, averaging 5.8 boards per game. During St. Bonaventure’s historic run to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in the 2011-12 season, Walker started every game and received Atlantic 10 Conference all-Defensive Team honors. “To sign my first pro contract feels amazing, but I couldn’t do it without constant support from all my coaches both past and present, teammates, fans, and most of all my family. They never gave up on me so I never gave up on myself,” Walker was quoted as saying.
SPARTANS SUCCEED: Winslow Dorsainvil of Monsey, a star harrier at St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, bettered his national time and school-record-time at the Terrier Invitational in Boston, clocking 6.82. Dorsainvil, a Spring Valley HS alum, placed fourth among all competitors but led all collegiate competitors with a time that puts him eighth overall in Division II. Garvenchy Nicolas of Brooklyn also hit a new personal best in the 800 with a time of 1:56.02, which also represents an indoor record at STAC. The Spartans also set a school standard in the 4×400 relay as anchor Allison Borrielloof Montgomery, Gabriela Sloezen of Westwood, NJ., Catherine Sandkuhlof North Babylon and Tiana Kirkland of New City meshed for 4:11.53. STAC is back in action February 1 at the Columbia University Invitational at the New Balance Track & Field Center in Washington Heights.
QUICK HITTERS: Guard John Perez of Haverstraw is completing his senior season on the men’s basketball team at SUNY Plattsburgh. The North Rockland HS alum is averaging 12.4 points and two assists per game for the Cardinals, who are home for back to back games against Oneonta on January 31 at 8 p.m. and New Paltz on February 1 at 4 p.m. Perez also has 19 steals and five blocked shots on the season. … Paul Fields of New City dropped a narrow 6-5 decision at 125 pounds as the nationally 10th-ranked SUNY Cortland wrestling team upended fifth-ranked Wabash College at Ithaca College. The Red Dragons (9-3) are home for back-to-back matches against Delaware Valley on January 31 and Nassau Community College on February 1 before taking part in the Jamestown Open on February 2. … John Conway of Airmont and Katie Arnott of Suffern are into their third seasons on the swimming and diving team at the University of Massachusetts. Conway, an alum of Suffern HS, competes in sprint events for the Minutemenwhile Arnott competes in breaststroke and individual medley. UMass welcomes Fordham University to Amherst, Mass., on February 1 at 1 p.m. …