Today marks the 20th Anniversary of the Long Island Rough Riders being crowned champions of the U.S Interregional Soccer League in front of an ecstatic home crowd.
On September 4th, 1995, former Rough Riders head coach Alfonso Mondelo guided the team to championship victory with a final win at home against the Minnesota Thunder in an intense encounter. The Rough Riders scored in the last six seconds of the game to win 2-1 thanks to a goal by striker Giovanni Savarese, who also went on to win the regular season and play-off MVP that season.
“That is the most important goal of my life,” Savarese said at the time. “It’s a great feeling to win the championship.”
Savarese had experience scoring goals, over the course of the 1995 season he found the back of the net 23 times. He enjoyed an illustrious playing career in the MLS and abroad and is currently the New York Cosmos Head Coach. Alongside Savarese, the Rough Riders squad had an abundant amount of talented players in the championship winning team including:
- Tony Meola (Goalkeeper) – Represented U.S National team and captained Kansas City Wizards to MLS Championship in 2000.
- Chris Armas (Midfielder) – Represented U.S National team, LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire in the MLS. Current New York Red Bulls Assistant Manager.
- Jim Rooney (Midfielder) – Represented multiple MLS teams and now assists in coaching the US Under-17 National Team.
To find out more information on the past history of the Rough Riders click HERE