PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Soccer celebrated their 60th anniversary at the annual Lonnie Cohen Memorial All-Star Game at Ramp Playground on Tuesday.
"We're happy to celebrate 60 years of Parks & Rec Soccer," said Bill Salvatore, Deputy Commissioner of Programs for Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. "We can only imagine how many games have been played all these years but it's super exciting to keep the tradition alive."
Steve Schmidt, Outdoor Soccer Chairman, said since its founding the league has played a key role in the blossoming of the sport in the city. The league - an Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer affiliate - was formed at McVeigh Playground in 1963.
"Soccer started in the Fishtown and Kensington area and now we go out to West Philadelphia, Roxborough and so forth," Schmidt said. "Here's to another 60 years."
Cohen, who died unexpectedly in July 2021, was the commissioner for the entire Philadelphia Parks and Recreation indoor and outdoor soccer program as well as the director for outdoor soccer. He was also the facilities supervisor at Hillside Recreation Center.
Cohen's sister, Jodi Cohen-Levine and husband Neil participated in the opening coin flip to officially kick off the All-Star Games. A scholarship fund was set up in Lonnie's memory.
“I was fortunate enough to work pretty closely with Lonnie not just with soccer but with the Broad Street Run at the finish line and briefly with the Philadelphia Marathon,” said Mike Grubb, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation's Sports & Athletics Program Coordinator. “Lonnie and I spoke pretty much every day and we got to be pretty close. We were dealt a pretty big blow when Lonnie died suddenly.”
Photo Credit: Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Soccer