Monday, April 24, 2006

Amsterdam Zephyrs ready to rejoin EFL action

Sunday, April 23, 2006
— Time: 12:13:23 AM EST

Amsterdam Zephyrs ready to rejoin EFL action

By JAMES A. ELLIS, The Leader-Herald

AMSTERDAM - In 2004, the Amsterdam Zephyrs semi-pro football program was revived, but struggled to a 1-9 record.

In 2005, due to a low number of participants, the Zephyrs disbanded prior to the start of the Empire Football League season.

With a renewed outlook, a swelling roster and a new head coach, the Zephyrs are back in 2006.

Dom Ruggeri takes over the reins as head coach of the Zephyrs, which boast a 58-man roster for the upcoming EFL season.

"Tony Marotta [Amsterdam Zephyrs' president] contacted me and asked if I would be interest in coaching the team," Ruggeri said. "I agreed to coach because of the challenge and being able to work with a great organization like the this."

Joining Ruggeri, who will be in charge of the defense, on the coaching staff are offensive coordinator Joe Hall, quarterback and receivers coach Mike Finocchi, line coach Dave Nicosia, defensive backs coach Alex McKinsey, speciality teams coach Rick Sager and conditioning coach Wayne Marotta.

Ruggeri said being a former player in the Empire Football League helped him as the team reorganized for the upcoming season.

"Being a former player in the EFL, I had some connections and that put us in touch with some of the players," he said. "The Amsterdam school district and the community has been great. The field [the Lynch Middle School FieldTurf field] was a big drawing point for the team."

Ruggeri played for the Glove Cities Colonials, as did many members of his coaching staff.

"Many of the coaches and players on this team are also involved with the Little Giants football program," Marotta said. "They know football and want to keep the tradition alive for the kids coming up through the programs."

The Empire Football League is split into two divisions. Amsterdam plays in the Southern Division with the Albany Metro Mallers, Scranton Eagles, Broome County Dragons and Tri-State Bulldogs. The Northern Division is comprised of the Ottawa Deacon Demons, Chateauguay Titans, Lake City Stars of Plattsburgh, St. Lawrence Valley Trailblazers, Vermont Ice Storm and the Watertown Red & Black.

"The EFL is as competitive as ever," Ruggeri said. "The Albany Metro Mallers are the team to beat. We will play on natural grass only once or twice this season. Most of the fields in the league are now artificial turf. When we play Broome County, it will be played indoors [Greater Binghamton Sports Complex]. We have some excellent players on this team."

The Zephyrs will be looking to the talents of running back Wayne Thompson and quarterback Jon Marotta to lead the teams offense.

Also listed on Amsterdam's pre-season roster are veteran semi-pro players Joe Hall Jr., Eric Johnson, Chris Wiltey, Jorge Rodriquez, Mike Philo and Rick Hulett.

The Zephyrs have their first pre-season game scheduled for June 3 in Massachusetts with the Blitzin' Bears.

"This is a championship-caliber team," Marotta said.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Are you ready for some football? (Amsterdam Zephyrs Article)

Are you ready for some football?
Updated: 4/20/2006 10:31 PM
By: Kathy Young

At 84 years old, William Hrycaj said he never misses a practice. Hrycaj was part of the original Amsterdam Zephyrs team in the 40's, and from what he can see, this new team will be a tough one to beat.

"I think they will be a tremendous team and I'm looking forward to it," said Hrycaj.

"My favorite sport is football," said fan Marcus Sager.

4 year old Marcus Sager came out to catch his favorite team.
He says he can't wait to grow up and play with the big boys.

"I want to play football when I get big," said Sager.

Fans both young and old came to check out the Amsterdam Zephyrs.
The team has been practicing since February.
More Information
Amsterdam Zephyrs

Fans in Amsterdam are getting ready for some semi-pro football. The Amsterdam Zephyrs are back in action after taking a year off, and the team looks better than ever.

"To compete in this league you've really got to be competitive," said head coach Dominic Ruggeri.

The Amsterdam Zephyrs entered the Empire Football League 2 years ago.
The team had to disband last year because they couldn't find enough players.
But some hard recruiting during the off season changed all that.

"This is a championship caliber team. The players we have are probably the best of the best in the Empire football league," said Amsterdam Zephyr President Tony Marotta.

Now 58 members strong, team members said they can't wait to get back into the action and play the sport they love so much.

"It means fun. It means a lot," said Amsterdam Zephyr Alvaro Montes.

"I drive an hour and 15 minutes for practice and further for games it has to be dedication," said Amsterdam Zephyr Alexander McKinsey.

"I love it a lot, I coach football, I watch football, so its definitely a big part of my life," said Amsterdam Zephyr Tim Stewart.

The Amsterdam Zephyrs kickoff their season in June.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

B.C. Dragons plan to move indoors

B.C. Dragons plan to move indoors

From staff reports
The Broome County Dragons have found a home indoors for their second season of semi-professional football.

Dragons coach Tom Manny said the Empire Football League-member Dragons will play the first of five scheduled games at the Greater Binghamton Sports Complex on July 15. The complex is located on Airport Road just north of Johnson City.

"One advantage is, you don't have to worry about any rain dates, and we do play into the fall, with playoffs," Manny said.

Scott Craig, vice president of the Greater Binghamton Sports Complex, said the facility's 125,000 square feet of space features a ceiling 70 feet above the playing surface- "So no one's going to hit it," Craig said.

"We'll need to mark the field for football and make a few adjustments with seating and that stuff," he added. "Other than that, we're ready to go. (The Dragons) are talking about drawing 400-500 people, and that'll be easy to do."

Manny said the Dragons will hold player sign-up meetings at 7 p.m. Monday at the YMCA in Delhi, and at 7 p.m. April 10 at Michael Angelo Restaurant in Sidney.


© 2006 Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

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