Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Looking Back and Catching Up With Carmine Marcantonio Part II

Tricks of the Game

"Tricks have always been in the game, like diving or flopping," Marco observes. On April 27, 1980, in a frigid match held in Toronto against the Blizzard, he was the recipient of one of the oldest tricks in all of sports. Jomo Sono of the Blizzard took a shot that Dips goalie Bill Irwin blocked but could not control.

"I got the ball on my foot and thought just to clear it out of the zone," Marcantonio told the press after the game. "But when I heard someone call, 'Marco, Marco' I thought it was (Dips teammate) Nick Mijatovic, so I passed the ball over there. Then I saw what had happened." Calling for the ball was Ivan Lukacevic, a teammate in 1976, but now a member of the opposition, who fired home the only goal of the match.

"He tricked me by using my nickname. It's part of the game. I had no bad feelings about it. We would use every trick in the book to try and win. Professionals are there to win games and if you get tricked it's your fault." An admirable attitude, to say the least!

Time in Washington

Marco, far right, enters the outdoor seating section of the Al-
pine Restaurant, a favorite eatery for many of the Dips and the
Redskins, as well. Second from right is Don Droege. Bob
Iarusci is in the center of the frame.
Two of Marcantonio's favorite activities during those summers in DC were playing golf and relaxing at the Alpine Restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. "It was like a second home for me, my wife, the Iarusci's, Crescitelli's and later for the Bradley's, Cruyff's and other Dips. It made history in the Washington area as the preferred restaurant for initially the Dips, and later the Redskins. It was always full with politicians and dignitaries and the rich & famous of Washington & Northern Virginia."

Marco became so close to the owners that he was asked to be the Godfather of one of their children, Marco Valentini. 

Life Today

Marco & Iarusci celebrate during a match in 1980.
After the original Diplomats folded, he played four more years with the Montreal Manic and the Cosmos. "I retired after the NASL went under and I moved back to Toronto. I have two boys and a girl who are grown and am an insurance broker." Marco stays quite active now that his professional playing days are behind him. "A lot of golf and I play in a 40 and over soccer league Fridays and Sundays."

He is still close with former teammate and fellow Canadian Soccer Hall of Famer Bob Iarusci. "We grew up together since the age of 16 and were teammates from age 17 through the NASL. We both played for the Cosmos after the Dips and were the Best Man at each others wedding."

"I feel I am kind of a pioneer. We made history in terms of how far football has come in the U.S. and Canada," he states about his time in the NASL. Ever the gentleman, he expressed, "to all Dips fans, my love & regards."

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