We Don't stop Playing because we grow old,

Tony Graziano

Written by Valerie Jordan Reece  

The Express Men's Soccer Team has changed its name to TG Express to honor the team's founder, Tony Graziano, who passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 13, 2008.

To symbolize Tony's permanent influence on the team, each member's uniform bears our new logo with his initials and jersey number.

Tony was best known in Central Florida soccer circles as an enthusiastic coach and talented player.

Born in Hartford, Conn., Tony committed himself to athletics and academics at a young age. His soccer skills and grades earned him a scholarship to University of Connecticut, where he majored in math and physics. Tony was a coach and player in the Central Florida Soccer Association.

His loss has been felt by many members of the community. Following is an excerpt from a letter written by Adrien Love of the Central Florida Soccer League:

Trust me when I say that Central Florida Soccer has lost one of it's finest men.

I personally had the pleasure and privilege of playing with Tony and getting to know him over the last fifteen years. He was an endearing man with a great heart and a special passion for the game that we all love. Tony had a unique view of the game, he was always one to keep in perspective that soccer, no matter how old you were, was a challenge to be enjoyed.

He never seemed to take it too seriously (or maybe he never took himself that seriously) but that never diminished his love of the game and he passed on his passion whether he was coaching his son's team, or merely in the stands cheering on Lake Howell High School, or for that matter any good local high school game that was playing that given night.

Tony loved the game so much that he actually made a return to the field the Sunday before last after enduring and rehabilitating himself from hip replacement surgery, a feat that I don't think that anyone else would even attempt. I watched him sub himself in, and thought to my self "he's nuts", then I smiled and thought "that's love of the game for you."

Tony believed that a game of soccer was just that, a game. It was supposed to be played with friends, kept simple, enjoyed by all, and most importantly, played with a smile on ones face. (As cliche as this might sound, I honestly felt, whether I was playing with him or against him, it was TRULY not whether you win or lose, but how you played the game)

Please, if you can, take the time to pass this email on to anyone in your address book that you know is part of our Central Florida Soccer Community.

And if you truly want to remember a man that embodied everything good about the game, the next time you lace up your cleats up to play, or go out and coach... smile and enjoy your time on the field.

Tony, you are a true champion...we will miss you.

Tony's Pro Career with Connecticut Wild Cats

 In 1973 CLAY BERLING, the founder and Publisher of SOCCER AMERICA, the largest soccer publication in the USA, wrote in a letter to Wildcat’s owner and manager Paul Ingram, that the Connecticut Wildcats was “the best professional soccer team in America.” Between 1973 and 1974 Berling went on to publish more articles in Soccer America about the Wildcats than any other domestic or foreign team.

On January 28, 2012 the Connecticut Wildcats had its 40th anniversary and Paul Ingram wrote a letter to Anthony:

,,,"My name is Paul Ingram and I was a friend of your father and I'm writing a book about the Connecticut Wildcats Pro Soccer team; your father will be in the book. At this time only two team pictures with your father in it are in the book (UCONN team and 1974 Wildcats team). These pictures are in the web site, but more will follow.  // The site is in the beginning stages but if you keep hitting "older Posts" you can see it all.// The book will also feature at least a 1 page minimum on each player.",,,

        Tony was always surrounded by great players from all over the world. Here are few of Tony's teamates.

            Tony DiCicco                               Ron McEachen                        George Purgavic