Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2007 - NJ Ironmen

2007.12.01 Prudential Center, Newark, NJ
Inaugural game of the New Jersey Ironmen v Detroit Ignition...
The local draw to the game was the addition of Tony Meola, in goal for the Ironmen. Daniel Antoniuk connect for a hat-trick in the inaugural game victory for the Ironmen over the Ignition 8-6.

Pele was named honorary captain for the opening game...the game program had this, written by John Archibald..barely 30 years after playing that last game at the Meadowlands, Pele has returned to the Garden State. The man known as the greatest soccer legend of all-time will soon carry us into the next generation of New Jersey sports, just as he was carried around Giants Stadium that rainy day in 1977. while the rooftop of Prudential Center may prevent the sky from dropping tears of joy upon our heads, there will undoubtedly be a need for tissues when the legend of Pele is in our presence. the roof may block the night sky, but that's alright. The brightest star in the sky will be right in front of our eyes.

The field was packed with children lined up around the center circle. Pele walked onto the field into the center of the circle for the first kick and presentations. then the children, who never saw Pele play converged on the man. He touched them on the head, shook their hands and smiled. Drawn like a magnet the children would not leave the field. Announcement were made and the mass of children moved with Pele like a game of magnet ball.

When the field finally cleared, and Pele had departed, we waited for the game to start. The players did not take the field. We waited, an announcement was made that the players will soon take the field and start the game. We later learned that the players were still in the locker room getting autographs and shaking hands with Pele, meeting their hero just as the children on the field had done...

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