The 1974 men’s soccer team is preserved in Adelphi lore.
by Jeffrey Weisbord ’14
The legacy of the 1974 men’s soccer team is preserved in Adelphi lore as the first Adelphi squad to capture a national championship. The players were hoping to improve on a successful 1973 season in which they had finished 17–2–1 and had reached the NCAA tournament semifinals. Despite losing six stars from the previous year—including Angelo Anastasio ’74 and Carlos Scott ’74, who both went on to play for the New York Cosmos—the 1974 cast provided the University with a spectacular encore.
Led by coach Menahem (Mel) Less, the Panthers raced to a 12–1–1 record and were ranked first in New York State by season’s end. After victories over the Babson College Beavers (coincidentally, the Beavers were coached by Robert Hartwell who would become the Adelphi athletic director) and the Springfield College Chiefs (a thrilling 1–0 victory that was preserved when goalkeeper Eugene DuChateau made a brilliant save on a penalty kick), the team advanced to the NCAA tournament in St. Louis. Playing the semifinal against Federal City College on Thanksgiving Day, Adelphi shut out the opposition and clinched a berth in the finals with a 3–0 win. In the final game,
Adelphi overcame snowy conditions to take a 3–0 halftime lead over the Seattle Pacific College Falcons. The Falcons stormed back to make the game tight at 3–2, but when the final gun went off, the Panthers were crowned the NCAA Division II champions.
Co-captains Manuel (Manny) Matos ’75 and Carl McDonald ’75 were a stabilizing presence defensively throughout the season, while Tom Lang ’81, Ron Atanasio ’78 and Charlie O’Donnell ’79 provided the bulk of the scoring. Six members of the team have been commemorated in the Adelphi Athletic Hall of Fame, and Mr. Matos, an All-American defender, was drafted by the Seattle Sounders of the North American Soccer League (N.A.S.L.) in the first round. Mr. DuChateau was also drafted by the N.A.S.L., and enjoyed a six-year career in professional soccer.
Since the 1974 squad’s triumph, the Panthers have captured 14 national championships.
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