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Amato tapped as new Wildcat soccer coach

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Soccer notes

Amato tapped as new Wildcat soccer coach

Plus: Ex-Tucson Amigo ups for one more season with Colorado Rapids; Furia makes noise in Phoenix

Tony Amato, Southland Conference coach of the year the past two seasons at Stephen F. Austin, has been hired to become the new University of Arizona women’s soccer coach, Athletic Director Greg Byrne announced Thursday.

“Tony’s a superbly successful coach who’s built an outstanding collegiate record in 10 seasons, and can help us move forward with our soccer program,” Byrne said.

Amato coached the SFA Ladyjacks to titles in 2011 and 2012 with a combined 17-0 league record. His marks in three years at SFA were 13-5-2 in 2010, 15-3-1 in 2011 and 17-4 this past year. The Jacks lost to Texas A&M, 1-0, in NCAA Championships first-round action in 2012.
Amato earned a master’s degree from Central Florida in 2002 and worked with local club soccer and Olympic Development Programs with the Florida Youth Soccer Association.

Amato takes over for departed UA coach Lisa Oyen, who compiled a record of 12-40-7 in three seasons after taking over as interim coach during the end of the 2009 campaign. Oyen resigned Nov. 15.

Mastroeni back for 2013

Colorado Rapids captain Pablo Mastroeni, the club’s all-time leader in games played and a veteran of two World Cups with the United States, has agreed to a new contract with the club and will return in 2013. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“I am thrilled to have signed a new contract and I can’t wait to get back on the field in 2013,” said Mastroeni. “I want to thank the club for their support in helping me return, and I am excited about what we can accomplish next year with Oscar [Pareja] leading the group. I’m honored to continue representing the Rapids and the state of Colorado.”

“Over the last 11 seasons, Pablo has given this franchise so much, and we are all thrilled that he’s coming back next year,” said Rapids President Tim Hinchey. “When he was unable to play in 2012, Pablo was our most active player in his charity work, spending a great deal of his time making our community a better place. He’s a great representative of our club and our sport.”

Mastroeni, 36, has played 218 games in 11 seasons with the Rapids, coming to the team in 2002 after four seasons with the Miami Fusion. He was named the team captain on September 23, 2004, taking over for John Spencer, and has held the role ever since. The midfielder earned Rapids MVP honors in 2007, 2008 and 2010, when he led the team to a victory in MLS Cup. With the United States National Team, the midfielder made 65 appearances, playing at both the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

Argentina-born Mastroeni was raised in Phoenix and attended Thunderbird High School and played youth soccer for area club team Santos FC. He played for the Tucson Amigos while on summer break from North Carolina State University. He is the only remaining former Amigos player in Major League Soccer.

That little conurbation to the north...

Do the Cactus Pricks have a rival?

The Arizona Republic’s soccer blogger Odeen Domingo reports that Phoenix FC supporter club La Furia Roja 1881 is making noise in Phoenix. 50 members of the group showed up to an event at the headquarters of the team in Central Phoenix back in September for a press conference.

The 1881, by the way, likely refers to the year in which besotted remittance man Darrell Duppa drunkenly declared that a section of scrubland he owned in the Salt River Valley be called Phoenix.

The group claims to have 270 members and is holding an event on Friday night at Phoenix FC’s offices in central Phoenix. The event features Tempe band Neato and an appearance by former Charlotte Eagles defender Devon Grousis, a recent signing by the club.

So, what does the Old Pueblo’s supporter group, the Cactus Pricks (sans 1775) think of them?

“It’s good that they are spreading the message,” said Cactus Pricks president Keaton Köch. “The more people that know soccer culture, the better.”

What, no smack talk?

“I want to,” he said. “I need to hold back.”

Saving it for the first time Tucson faces off against Phoenix, I suppose.

Open Cup 2013 qualifying already started

Qualifying for the early rounds of the U.S. Open Cup has already started for amateur teams on the East Coast. Three time champion New York Pancyprian-Freedoms defeated Greek American Atlas Astoria to represent Eastern New York in the next round of qualifying.

Pancyprian-Freedoms won in 1980, 1982 and 1983. Their 1983 win got them into the CONCACAF Champions Cup. They made it to the semifinal round, when a scheduling dispute with CD Guadalajara got both teams disqualified.

The regional final will be in the spring, with the winner going on to join other lower division teams in the first round of the 2013 Open Cup.

This will be the 100th US Open Cup tournament, which includes men's teams from all levels of competition, from amateur to professional. The current champion is the Seattle Sounders.

The Premier Development League has not yet announced how they determine their entries. If they use last year's standards, FC Tucson would be in next year's tournament by virtue of where they finished in their division.

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