Soccer player

TRIBUTE TO MARY THERESA: Varas to be inducted into LI Soccer Player Hall

Mary Theresa Varas will be inducted into the Long Island Football Players Hall of Fame in ceremonies on Saturday.

Ceremonies will be held at the Huntington Hilton in Melville, NY

She will be inducted into the Hall, along with Doc Lawson, Nick Megaloudis, Peter Jianette, John Lignos and Jean Varas.

Peter Collins, the late president of the Long Island Junior Soccer League, will receive the Paul LeSueur Ambassador of the Game Award.

The venue will also celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Arrows, who won their fourth and final Major Indoor Soccer League championship in 1982.

Varas began playing with the Massapequa Thunderbirds in 1975, playing with the Massapequa Express, which won four consecutive Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association and Region I championships. She also appeared in three consecutive U.S. National Junior Championships , including the first National U-19 Junior Championship in 1980.

Varas attended Berner HS from 1977 to 1981, where she led the team to Nassau County and Long Island titles. She was named All-American in her senior season.

She captained the Long Island team, which dominated the Empire State Games for seven years (1979-85), winning five gold medals and two silver medals.

Varas attended UCF. As a freshman, she led the team to the Women’s National Championship, which was governed by the now defunct Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) and was named National Tournament MVP. The following year, she led UCF to the first NCAA Championship Game, UCF’s best finish in history. Despite losing in the final, Varas was named the tournament’s best attacking player. She capped off her senior season with another NCAA Tournament berth, making it three of her four-year career. Varas’ honors included being an All-American in 1983 and being named UCF MVP for three years until she was passed over by the future U.S. Women’s National Team legend. , Michelle Akers.

In 1984, Mary and her sister Jean were featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” for their accomplishments as soccer-playing sisters. The appearance in SI was considered the first published recognition for female soccer players.

There were few playing opportunities after college for women in 1985, but Varas played in three successive U.S. Olympic festivals, winning gold in 1985 and silver in 1987. Her Orlando Caliber Comets teams also participated in the United States Women’s National Amateur Cup, reaching the 1994 national championship. semi-finals.

“The Class of 2022 is an extraordinary example of Long Island’s incredibly rich football history,” said LISPHOF founder Kevin L. McCrudden. “In the early days of men’s and women’s soccer in America, you can find the footprints of some of America’s greatest and most influential players on Long Island. No matter one of the most influential people in soccer history American Mr. Peter Collins Truly one of the “founding fathers” of youth football on Long Island and in America.

Hall’s executive director, Jim Kilmeade, added, “The Long Island Football Players Hall of Fame represents not just world-class athletes, but world-class human beings. On behalf of our Board of Directors, we look forward to hearing about their individual life stories and are honored to induct this distinguished Class of 2022. These seven individuals have collectively inspired and influenced the lives of thousands of young football players, coaches and fans across Long Island and the country. We look forward to celebrating the 1981-82 National Champion – NY Arrows and the careers of Doc Lawson, Peter Jianette, Mary Theresa Varas, Jean Varas, Nick Megaloudis John Lignos and Long Island’s leading man in the sport, Mr. Peter Collins. »