The township high school began its soccer program 50 years ago, and while it at first faced struggles, it built a strong foundation and grew from there.
Now members of the inaugural team – plus players from other years – come together every fall for the high-school soccer alumni reunion game.
“My brother actually started the game around 2001-2002,” event organizer John Casparro said. “The idea was just to have a game, raise some money for the program, see how many players you can get and now, 21 years later, we’re still having the game every year in the fall.”
The 2022 edition of the game was played on Oct. 8 at the township’s Legion Field, where roughly 50 high-school soccer alumni participated in the game. They included players both older and more recent, including a few from the original 1972 team. Ralph Gotta – who traveled from Oregon to participate – and Lou Randazzi were also present.
“We take even-year graduates versus odd-year graduates,” Casparro explained. “We’ve probably donated more than $25,000 to the soccer team over the years … The town itself just is ingrained in history, just has stories ingrained into it, like those on the soccer team who have their stories.
“It’s cool to experience that once a year.”
Randazzi has been part of the alumni event for more than a decade. While he didn’t always keep pace with recent graduates, he said being part of the experience is what makes the alumni game what it is, especially since he was part of the inaugural team.
“Palmyra is where my roots are and I try to get back a few times a year,” he noted. “We had three of the seniors from that ‘73 graduation year come out this year, and it was really special to see those guys …
“It’s an exciting time,” Randazzi added. “You still get the thrill of walking out under the lights.”