PHILADELPHIA — The Southeastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame added 10 members to its ranks and handed out annual awards for high school players of the year, coaches, referees, clubs and more at its 76th annual banquet Saturday night at Cannstatter Volksfest-Verein.
“I’m overwhelmed with love and gratitude for everyone, and really happy to be with our Philly soccer family,” said inductee Joe DiSalvo Jr., whose father Joe DiSalvo was inducted 25 years ago. “I think no matter where I’ve traveled, over in Europe playing or when I was in college, I always carried Philly with me and I never forgot where I where I came from. I think that we all share that pride for each other and it makes me feel good to be a part of this group.”
DiSalvo and many of the inductees present talked about the coaching they received, how instrumental their experiences on the pitch have been in the lives and how it’s been a motivating factor in giving back through coaching and other ways.
“I will continue to pay it forward and hope that you feel that same passion and desire to do the same,” DiSalvo said.
The theme of paying it forward was at the heart of Betty Ann Kempf Townsley’s remarks after receiving an award named after one of her mentors, the late Charlotte Moran, former executive director of Eastern PA Youth Soccer.
“Charlotte was a dear friend of mine,” said Kempf Townsley, the head women’s coach at West Chester University and a long-time ODP coach. “Each time I considered stepping away from the game she encouraged me and lured me back into the game and and helped me to stay involved. She was a strong supporter of girls and women's soccer locally, nationally and internationally.”
Kempf Townsley also spoke on behalf of her husband, Ed Townsley, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame but missed the ceremony due to illness.
“One of the things I’d like to say about my husband is he was among others here tonight one of the early promoters of girls and women’s soccer here in Eastern Pennsylvania,” Kempf Townsley said. “They were very concerned about where the game could go for women and laid the foundation for us all.”
While he was unable to attend the banquet, Bill Nuttall, the former general manager for U.S. Soccer’s national teams, was among the inductees. The King of Prussia native won an NAIA national champion at Davis and Elkins College and played in both the American Soccer League and North American Soccer League before going into coaching and administration. He was hired by U.S. Soccer in 1991 as the general manager and oversaw the U.S. Men’s National Team during the 1994 World Cup in the U.S.
After the inductees were honored with a scarf and plaque, Kensington Soccer Club was recognized as the club of the year for the work they are doing to expand access to the beautiful game in Philadelphia.
Club founder and executive director Jim Hardy spoke while flanked by other members of the club’s leadership team and fought back tears as he spoke about their work at the grassroots level.
“As strong as the Philadelphia soccer community is, we also all know that it needs to get stronger and bigger and more inclusive,” Hardy said. “There are still tens of thousands of children who don’t get a chance to play and that’s what motivates us.”
Another club working to increase access in the city was honored with the Paul Stilley/Little Club Administrator of the Year. Mike Rex, of Roxborough United Youth Soccer Club, received the award.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege serving the soccer community in Roxborough,” Rex said. “We try to make soccer affordable and accessible to all the kids in our community.”
Three other awards were given at the youth level with Philadelphia SC Coppa Rage receiving special recognition for winning the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship in Orlando last summer in addition to the awards for high school players of the year.
Lisa McIntyre, of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and Philadelphia SC Coppa, and Sean McKenna, of Father Judge High School and PA Dominion, were the recipients.
“It’s memories that I made that I'll never forget,” McIntyre, who is heading to the University of Maryland, said. “My teammates have been by rock, my life and I'm really gonna miss that as we all go our separate ways.”
McKenna is part of a PA Dominion team that has qualified for U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships and is looking to repeat as NCS State Cup champions.
"I'm really excited just to be able to get another shot at a state cup final state and a national championship with a really good group of guys, some of the best players I've ever played with on the field."
Hall of Fame Class of 2023
Joe DiSalvo Jr.
2023 Award Winners
Tom Paton Award - Female Player of the Year – Lisa McIntyre, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy
Bill Peterman Award - Male Player of the Year – Sean McKenna, Father Judge High School
Charlotte Moran Award - Coach of the Year (Female Team) – Betty Ann Kempf Townsley, West Chester University
John (Jukey) Nanoski Award - Coach of the Year (Male Team) – Ryan Haney, Archbishop Ryan High School
Ned Potts Award - Club of the Year – Kensington Soccer Club
Harry Rodgers Award – Referee of the Year – Howard Phillips
Nick Cinquanto Award – Young Referee of the Year – Erin O’Brien
Paul Stilley/Little Club Administrator of the Year – Mike Rex, Roxborough United Youth Soccer Club
Chick Fallon Award – Service to Soccer – Steve Weiler
Philadelphia Soccer Club Coppa Rage U17 Girls US Youth Soccer National Champions