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Mike BarryEye on the Island

By Mike Barry
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Soccer Dad’s Story

Most books timed for a Father’s Day release are built around the influence a Dad has had on his children.

First time author Jeff Clark, a Mineola resident and the married father of six, took a different route when writing the just-published Dad’s Masterpiece: The Patricia Masotto Story (Strategic Book Publishing). It chronicles in a very moving way the incredible impact the late Patricia Masotto (1964-1985), a Massapequa soccer star, had on her father, Peter Masotto.

Clark will be talking about his book and the Masotto family’s story on Thursday, June 18 at 7 p.m. at the Mineola Memorial Library, 195 Marcellus Road, Mineola.

Patricia Masotto was the third of five children born to Peter and Evelyn Masotto. And while both of her parents were athletes in their youth, Patricia’s extraordinary soccer skills emerged when she was only 8 years old and playing mid-fielder for the Massapequa Soccer Club. The passion and excellence she brought to the game, Clark illustrates, got her father actively involved in a sport with which he was only vaguely familiar. Patricia’s talented younger sister, Annemarie, also caught the soccer bug. Together, the two Masotto sisters and their father anchored the Massapequa girls’ soccer teams which won state titles and national recognition in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Patricia started her collegiate career at Farmingdale State College and then transferred to Nassau Community College, where she won All-American honors, because of a dispute between the Masottos and the Farmingdale coach at the time, which is nicely chronicled in Dad’s Masterpiece.

Dad’s Masterpiece, however, is more about family dynamics than soccer. Patricia’s death, in a June 1985 Farmingdale, NY automobile accident that also killed her two friends with whom she was traveling, Brenda Driscoll and Charlie Gucciardo, had repercussions which are being felt in those families to this day. Masotto, Driscoll and Gucciardo were struck by an alleged drunk driver who ran a red light and also died in the crash.

Had she lived, Patricia Masotto would have spent the fall of 1985 as a junior scholarship player on the women’s soccer team at George Mason University in Virginia.

“I went into the Newsday archives when doing research for the book and that’s when I remembered the accident,” said Clark, who became interested in Patricia’s story after being asked to ghostwrite a speech on Peter Masotto’s behalf. A friendship ensued.

“When we first met, I asked him, ‘How did you get into soccer?’ He got all choked up and couldn’t speak,” Clark recalled. No one had told him the Masotto family’s back story before introducing him to Peter Masotto.

Hearing the tale, Clark, the director of government affairs at Cablevision, believed it had the makings of a book, and the 101-page Dad’s Masterpiece offers a compelling window into one family’s memorable highs and heart-wrenching lows. Moreover, it memorializes the life story of a woman whose name is widely known in soccer circles—the U.S. Youth Soccer Association awards the Patricia Masotto trophy each year to the best teenaged girl player aged 16 and under—but not elsewhere, until now.

More on the book is at http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/DadsMasterpiece.html.

Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism.

Mike Barry, a corporate communications consultant, has worked in government and journalism. Email: MFBARRY@optonline.net