For Joe Palumbo, the soccer coach at Somers High School, soccer is a way of life. A native of Italy, Palumbo says he didnt know anything about other sports when he and his family moved to America.
While growing up in Brooklyn he continued to make soccer his passion, even playing with the pros in New England before hanging up his own cleats to share his knowledge with the next generation.
In Italy, kids live the sport, said Palumbo. If somebody wants to be a soccer player they have to put in the necessary time.
Working at Club Fit in Yorktown for 25 years, he and his wife Sally run the Joe Palumbo Soccer Academy.
Through my academy I have developed some of the best kids in the area, Palumbo said. I have about six or seven kids who have signed pro contracts.
With a quarter of a century's experience, Palumbo has watched soccer go from almost non-existent in the United States to occupying nearly every field in the suburbs each weekend.
The quantity has improved, but the quality has not grown at the same pace, Palumbo said. I notice a lot of kids kick a ball, but dont really play soccer the way it is supposed to be played.
At Somers High School, Palumbo is bringing the tradition of his academy to the varsity team. He said he believes the basic mechanics of the game are the key to success. In his first year at Somers, he took his team to the final of the Sectional Tournament. This year, after losing a handful of seniors who graduated, Palumbo managed to bring his team to the quarter-finals. He said he is grateful to all at Somers that are so supportive of the team, especially the administration.
I can help these kids to grow if they are patient, Palumbo said, In 5 years I dont know if anybody can stop them if they continue at this pace.
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