Former Long Island Rough Riders players Tom Lips, Carlos Mendes, Jennifer Tietjen Prozzo, and Margaret Tietjen Rodriguez are among those set to be inducted into the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame as the Class of 2019.
An awards gala is 7 p.m. February 23 at the Huntington Hilton in Melville, N.Y.
“I created the Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame to honor our past,” LISPHF founder Kevin L. McCrudden said in a release. “Too many parents and kids on Long Island currently playing soccer have no idea of the amazingly rich history we have here on Long Island. The Class of 2019 is just the most recent example of the extraordinary players that we have produced on Long Island that we should all be incredibly proud of.”
Lips, of Hauppauge, N.Y., enjoyed a nine-career playing career between the United States and Europe. He played for the Rough Riders from 1997-98 and later coached the women’s team from 2006-07.
Mendes, currently the head coach of the New York Cosmos, began his professional playing career with the Rough Riders in 2002, helping guide Long Island to the USL Pro title that year. After stints in Major League Soccer with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars and Columbus Crew, Mendes became the first player to sign with the rebooted Cosmos in 2013, helping the club win North American Soccer League (NASL) championships in 2013, ’15, and ’16.
“I’m very proud of growing up here on Long Island,” Mendes said. “To be inducted into the hall of fame with such great history in my community and players that I have looked up to my whole life, I’m very grateful.”
Twin sisters Jennifer and Margaret Tietjen starred for the Long Island Lady Rough Riders from 1997-2000. Margaret is currently the head women’s soccer coach at the University of Connecticut. Jennifer, an assistant women’s soccer coach at Central Connecticut State University, was the Rough Riders’ team captain and was selected to the W-1 League All-Star team.
“The Tietjen twins represent the female players that started out on Long Island,” McCrudden told Newsday. “They had success with the [Long Island] Lady Riders. They are wonderful examples for young women today to persevere and to work hard to become better players.”
Also part of the Class of 2019 is Mark Semioli, a former high school teammate of Lips’, a MetroStars and Los Angeles Galaxy player, and a current MLS scout.
BY: Michael LoRé
Photos courtesy of Long Island Soccer Player Hall of Fame