Staples Soccer Is Etched In Stone

In the nearly 60 years since Staples High School fielded its first boys soccer team, some legendary athletes have laced up their boots.

Plenty more played without achieving fame. But they loved the program, made great friendships and created lifelong memories.

Inevitably, a few of those players died young.

Staples soccer embraces its past. One of the program’s goals is to make sure current players feel a link to those who came before, and become in turn great role models for those who follow. (Full disclosure: I am the head coach — and a former Staples soccer player.)

Yesterday, alumni came from as far as California. They gathered together to see a game between 2 top teams — and to help dedicate Staples soccer’s “Etched in Stone” project.

It’s a permanent memorial to members of the program who died before their time. Their names are now inscribed in the terrace, at the top of The Hill.

Kyle Martino — a 1999 graduate who played on the US men’s national team, and is now a noted NBC Sports Premier League analyst — helped organize the project. His speech yesterday emphasized the importance of the Staples soccer community; the “family” bonds that have been formed across generations, and the feeling of legacy that joins current players with past (and future) Wreckers.

US soccer star and NBC Sports analyst Kyle Martino (with ball) addresses the crowd. At far left is Brad Tursi. His brother Drew’s death last winter sparked Martino and his teammates to create the “Etched in Stone” project. Drew spent many hours on The Hill, watching Brad and his friends play for Staples.

After the brief ceremony, the large crowd enjoyed a crackling match. Stamford eked out a 1-0 win, in a nail-biting finish.

Then the alums took to Loeffler Field, for a classic pick-up match.

Some things never change.

Former players from the 1980s who returned include (from left) Andy Udell, Todd Zucker, Dan Donovan, Mark Noonan, Guy Claveloux, Todd Coleman, Nathan Bird, Rob Sweetnam and Doug Fincher. Fincher’s son Ryan helps anchor the current Staples defense. Donovan and Coleman have brothers whose names are now etched in stone. (Photo/Yvonne Claveloux)

Fred Cantor, Steve McCoy and Neil Brickley — who helped win state and FCIAC championships in 1969 and ’70 — returned to Loeffler Field for the “Etched in Stone” ceremony. (Photo/Robert Brickley)

After the Staples-Stamford match, alumni, fans, family and friends lingered on the terrace at the top of The Hill. (Photo/Sam New)

6 responses to “Staples Soccer Is Etched In Stone

  1. Vivianne Pommier

    Staples Soccer has been a highlight since the 6o’s, All our congrats to the many players that participated and brought our High School State and National Recognition.

  2. Scott Brodie

    Mark Brickley, the first name in the list, and I were frequent home-room classmates. A great guy and a true gentleman. Thanks for preserving his memory, and all the others.

  3. Nancy Hunter


  4. Wonderful Story, Amazing history and tradition.!

  5. Like Scott above, I remember Mark Brickley well (I was in those home room classes as well) as was Marilyn Briggs, also departed. Mark was a solid guy in every respect. I am glad that all of these guys are remembered.

  6. I’m terribly sorry that I could not attend this ceremony in memory of so many players I knew well, most of whom I had a hand in coaching. My only excuse is that I had made plans to visit my daughter Amanda in her new home in Denver before I knew of the date, and changing the date of those plans turned out to be impossible. I will always be proud of my connections to Staples Soccer, and wish to be remembered to the families of these players and contributors to our program who departed from us too young. This tribute to them and recognition of their connection to our shared history is especially meaningful as it shows the strength of the bonds of brotherhood which tie us all together. My profound thanks to Kyle and all the others who brought this project to fruition. Jeff Lea