BY MARC MATURO
Most commonly and better known as ‘Baggio’ in recognition of his prowess on the pitch, the Clarkstown North High School alum just celebrated his 22nd birthday by signing a professional contract with Miami Football Club.
The youngest son of former goalkeeper Frank Kcira, who is still active as a coach in Clarkstown after 25 years on the sideline, Baggio bypassed college in order to play in Europe and spent the last 2-plus years in Austria.
Michael Kcira, one of Baggio’s three brothers (one was tragically lost in a car accident), sees only bigger things from his sibling.
“I think it’s great,” Michael said. “Ever since he was a little kid he had a great passion (for soccer) and natural ability. It always seemed he was headed to be a pro, and this is only the beginning. He’s not even in his prime yet.”
Septuagenarian automobile businessman Joe Moger, whose eponymous shop in Nyack is engulfed with soccer mementoes, articles and World Cup promotions, has been associated with the Clarkstown Soccer Club for ages as player and coach. He was among the many to quickly assess Baggio’s talent, and has no question whether the son is better than the father.
“Frank was the best player in his town. The town had 400 people and about 370 were women, so you know what kind of a player he is,” Moger laughs. “I’ve known Baggio since he was born. He called me every Tuesday and Thursday and practiced with the older guys. He is a soccer lover more than me!”
The elder Kcira coached his son for some 10 years, helping him make the Olympic Development Program (ODP) and then a regional and national selection.
“He’s an attacking midfielder,” Kcira, putting on his scout’s cap, said. “He’s a lefty and you don’t find a lot of lefties at that position — or any position. Most players are right-footed. All my sons played soccer but my youngest is the best. I saw him in Europe and now I will get to see him here (in the states).”
Miami FC, a member of the 11-team North American Soccer League (NASL), along with the New York Cosmos, opens its season on April 2 at Lockhart Stadium against the hosting Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Miami’s home opener is set for April 9 against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at 20,000-seat FIU Stadium.