By Christian DiGennaro
BELLE HARBOR — In the coming weeks, as the St. Francis de Sales soccer players take to the field, not only will they carry the names of two former coaches on their jerseys, but they will also carry their spirits.
Recently, the goalkeepers for the St. Francis de Sales soccer teams began wearing jerseys to honor the memories of two former coaches — Anthony DiCarlo and John Keane.
DiCarlo was an NYPD detective who died in 2019 at age 51 after suffering a heart attack. Keane died earlier this year from a rare form of cancer at age 47.
DiCarlo, who had three daughters — Maria, Daniella, and Ariana, all of whom he coached — created the “Tidal Wave” logo that still adorns the players’ uniforms and can be seen on soccer gear throughout the Rockaway peninsula.
While coaching St. Francis de Sales soccer, DiCarlo also worked with other parents to help create Kosmos Soccer, now known as TST, which has grown immensely since its inception.
DiCarlo also coached at Fontbonne Hall, where one of his daughters, Maria, was on his team. Maria has fond memories of her dad’s affinity for the St. Francis de Sales soccer program.
“Every weekend, my dad was at the Fort Tilden fields. Lining them, cutting the grass, putting equipment in the sheds, fixing the goals. You name it, my dad did it,” she said. “He was always looking to design new St. Francis de Sales gear for kids to wear. … When [St. Francis de Sales Soccer Director] Kathleen Tomassetti had the idea of goalie jerseys as a tribute to him, I knew it was perfect.”
Also leaving a lasting impression was Keane, who had five children — Aiden, Lily, Dylan, Finn, and Emma — ranging in age from 6 to 18. Over a span of 15 years, he coached four of their teams before eventually coaching St. Francis de Sales soccer.
“Coach Keane was my first soccer coach,” said former player Giovanni Mazzola. “When I changed parishes after Sandy, I was new and didn’t really know anyone. He made me feel really comfortable and always encouraged me. We weren’t the best team, but he made sure we had a lot of fun and felt good about ourselves.”
Keane’s wife, Cristi, said John was not a soccer player, but that didn’t stop him from coaching, offering to help out, or covering practices and games if needed.
“He was a loving and involved dad who always wanted to be there for his kids,” she said. “He’d get a big kick out of seeing his name on those jerseys, and it means a tremendous amount to our entire family.”