The Players Who Paved The Way - Part TWO

This is the second installment of "The Players Who Paved The Way." We look back at some of the great players who wore the SSFAC shirt as the team established itself in the Peninsula Soccer League. This time we visit with South City's all time leading scorer, Danny Marcucci.  Click Here For Story.

When Coach Mike Pizzo took over the club from former Coach Alvaro Bettucchi in 1984, first thing on the agenda was putting together a new line-up with players that Coach Pizzo had known from his involvement in the AYSO program in SSF. It was a young team and one that would be built on a strong defense so it could compete with the clubs in the Peninsula Soccer League. The league was very competitive and a solid defense would be a way for the team to stay in games...but could they score? It was a struggle at first as South City was building for the future and hoping to emerge as a potential challenger in the league as the 1990's approached. The defense took shape and began to develop chemistry, but scoring was a challenge. That task fell to a variety of players, but one player would eventually standout. He would become the teams "go to" guy, the one who could get the big goal when the team needed it. A confident strong presence in the line-up, who would take the ball with him, weave through opponents and finish his chances with a blazing shot. That player, simply know as "Cuch"......was Danny Marcucci.

He became the dominating goal scorer that SSFAC needed in order to strike fear in opposing teams. Cuch led the team in scoring 5 out of the 10 seasons he played with the team. Unfortunately injuries deprived him of a season and a half of playing time. He was quick and strong. He played a physical game, but he had to, as opposing teams frequently fouled him, battled him and double teamed him in an effort to slow him down. It really didn't matter...even if the defense shut him down for 85 minutes, he'd strike in the last 5 minutes to leave the opponent frustrated. Players who had to match up against him, tried everything they could to get him off his game, but Danny never waivered. He would make a run to get open for a pass, or cleverly find his way to the top of the penalty area, and when the ball was delivered to him he would turn and send a blistering shot at goal. His overall play helped lead SSFAC in the late 80's and early 90's as South City began to develop into a team that was finding it's way and slowly climbing in the league standings. After suffering a few injuries that would slow him down, Danny reinvented his game, moving into the midfield and becoming a distributor of the ball, constantly setting up teammates for opportunities at goal. He was a smart player with great vision and always seemed to know what was about to happen on the pitch before it did. He played the game with intensity but always had a smile on his face as he moved about the field. He was passionate about the game, but he also knew how to have fun. On the soccer field, Cuch felt right at home.

Danny finished his playing days with 46 goals and 32 assists, the team leader in points which still stands today. He was the most recognized player on the field, shouting encouragement to his teammates and tactfully ( at times ) chirping at the referees, and if you came to Orange Park back in the day to see him play, you could hear his father Evio ( a great player in his day ) shouting encouragement to Danny from the sidelines while flashing a proud smile. "Danny, why you don't use your left foot" he would say.....and Cuch would just smile and give a wave back as if to say..."I know Pop, I know." His work ethic and example, along with his overall dedication to the team, and outstanding play for 10 seasons is why you will find his name as one of SSFAC's  "All Time Best Eleven." Recently we had a chance to catch up with Danny and get his thoughts about playing.

Q: At what age did you first begin playing?
A: I started playing in A.Y.S.O. between the ages of 4 and 5.
Q: Did you play other sports as a youngster?
A: I played baseball, football, and ran track.
Q: When did soccer become the sport you would focus on?
A: In my Junior year of High School.
Q: Who was the biggest influence on you as a youth player?
A: My Dad.
Q: What was the best youth team you played on?
A: The All Star team that went to England when I was 17 years old.
 
Q: Best memory from youth soccer?
A: When we won the Championship played at Westborough Jr. High School and ran around the field like we just won the world Cup.
 
Q: Did you follow the game as a youngster and club teams did you watch the most?
A: Yes, Inter Milan & the San Jose Earthquakes.
Q: How did you get your start in men's soccer?
A: My Dad had a huge influence on the start of my youth soccer interest, and then Mike Pizzo kept my interest in the game well into my 20's
Q: What position did you play for SSFAC?
A: Center forward and then later on in the midfield.
Q: Teammates that stood out over the years?
A: Lots of players over the years, hard to pick. My assist partner Roberto Alvarado, new me like a book. Dan Diodati & Dan Gallegos on defense, and Alex Masis...we were the best scoring tandem.
 Q: Do you have one game that you will always remember?
A: Yes, scoring 3 goals against Estrella Roja at Orange Park! I was getting fouled almost every time I touched the ball, but I got away three times.
 Q: Is there one team you liked playing against the most, and why?
 A: Harmonie, and of course Estrella Roja. The competition was always well matched and very physical.
 Q: What would you call your best moment and your most forgettable moment while playing for SSF?
 A: Most forgettable was breaking my wrist with 2 of our players ejected in the second half.
 Q: Looking back at your playing days with SSFAC, how would you characterize your experiences with the team?
 A: Some of the best years of my life. Having purpose to get up on Sunday mornings. Many friendships formed over the years.
Q: You were selected as one of the teams all time Best Eleven,..is it possible for you to name one player that you felt was the best you played with? 
A: Roberto Alvarado, he was a good partner, and taught me the true meaning of TEAM effort.
Q: Your currently the Head Coach of the SSF High Girls Varsity Team, how did that come about? 
A: My daughter wanted to play soccer and there was no program at the time. She begged me for weeks to talk to the principal to start a program. That was 10 years ago and I'm still hooked!
Q: What do you enjoy most about Coaching?
A: Keeping me active in a game that I love as well as sharing my knowledge with the kids. It's a good feeling to see young kids doing something constructive with their free time, and who knows...maybe I'll see a star or two. 
Q: How long do you see yourself Coaching at this level, and do you have any interest in doing so beyond this current situation?
A: At this point I take it one season at a time. I guess as long as the kids are interested I will continue to Coach. I don't know about going beyond this current situation at this point, but you never know. It is really hard to switch gears after this many years of dedication to a program I started.
Q: Family?
A:

What can I say...my wife Jill (still putting up with me after 19 years.) My daughter Lindsay 26, that begged for the program...off and living her life. My oldest son Trevor 24, working his way to independence, and my youngest son Joey 18, totally dedicated to BASEBALL.

Q: Pro teams that you follow....and any player that you love to watch? 
A: San Jose Earthquakes, the U.S. & Italian National Teams. I used to love to watch Roberto Baggio, and Alessandro Del Piero..being of Italian heritage.
Q: As a player, you played at such a high level always giving 100% and totally dedicated to the team. You led by example and became the teams all time leading scorer... What advice would you give to today's players?
A: Never give up on your passion. If you love it, give it all you have no matter what the outcome might look like. Anything can happen at any minute and you can greatly impact every situation. Giving it ALL and NEVER giving up is the true meaning of dedication.
Q: Anything you would like to add or say to the current SSFAC team?
A: No adversary is too great to conquer. Keep your head in the game and remember, composure and sportsmanship are the key to success.

Danny's love for the game of soccer has now given him the chance to be a perfect role model for young players. Because his  daughter Lindsay gave him that gentle push...Danny has developed a very successful girls program at South San Francisco High  School. He brings that same passion and dedication to the young players of SSF as he did during his playing days for SSFAC. He patrols the sidelines giving encouragement to his young players and instructs them on how to get the most out of their ability. They listen and try their best, because they understand that they have a mentor who cares about each and everyone of them. It is only fitting that Danny was the person who started a girls program at SSF High, because the connections that go back over the years tie this all together in an amazing way. Alvaro Bettucchi, SSFAC's original coach from 1954-84 is the person who started the first High School soccer team for boys when he formed a 4 team league with SSF High, Redwood City, San Mateo, & Serra High School for the 1959 season. Evio Marcucci, Danny's father, was a brilliant player for the Sons of Italy & SFIAC during the 1950's and 60's and also played with Bettucchi's SSFAC at times as well as representing the team in a 1959 All Star Game between San Francsico & Los Angeles.

Who knew at the time that Danny would become the fantastic player he was for SSFAC, and then move on to be a successful coach at the High School level. His father Evio knew....and now as he looks down from above at his son's ongoing accomplishments, that proud smile still remains intact. 

                                       

                                                                      SSFAC 1988-89,  4th Place PSL 1st Division
                     Front Row L to R:  Gus Lorente, George Melendrez, John Perez, Larry Armanino, Lance Cockerill,
                     Dan Diodati,  Back Row L to R:  Coach Mike, Steve Bowker, Jeff Journey, Mac Fresques, Pete Rossi,
                     Guillermo Contreras, George Perez, Scott Eaker, Darrell Black, Danny Marcucci, Bobby Graham
                    
   
   
   
   
   

                                                                                                                      

Give your feeders a good

Give your feeders a good cleaning with warm water to disolve any sugar crystals left behind. Then add a little more than 1 weeks worth of the sugar syrup. Replace what is left after 1 week.-Mercy Ministries