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A passion for soccer - and so much more - makes Politi the right choice
2024-04-12
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It is hoped by those involved with the re-emergence of the Sudbury Cyclones that the team will quickly captivate the local soccer fan base, building the type of interest in the sport that would regularly see a couple of thousand folks attending the most high profile of games each summer and fall at Queen’s Athletic Field a half century ago.

The sixties and seventies were replete with soccer passion in the nickel city and the likes of Dario Zulich, Dayna Corelli, Connor Vande Weghe and many others would dearly love to see this spirit rekindled.

In naming Giuseppe Politi as the first head coach in this latest wave of Cyclones’ history, they could not have selected a more passionate soccer person in town.

“I took an interest in it when I was very young,” said the teacher by day, soccer coach and mentor to the coaches by night and weekends. “I remember the World Cup of 1990 – I was seven – and that’s when I started watching it on TV.”

“I got attached to the game and the rest is history.”

Quite a bit of history, to be honest.

As a player, typically on the attacking side of the ball, the now 40 year old was talented enough to spend a summer with Glen Shields (Soccer Club), eventually accepting a scholarship to attend Saint Leo University in Florida, returning to Canada to finish off his post-secondary career at Laurentian University (3+ years) and with the Brock Badgers (one year as he completed his MBA).

Still, for as much as there was talent, there was also a realization that his true calling in the sport would lie in a slightly different direction.

“I am convinced that I am probably a better coach than I was a player,” said Politi. “I was a good player, but I think my forte is in this realm. Coaching is where I am really happy – and still motivated.”

That’s saying something when one considers that the graduate of St Charles College was just 15 years old when he tackled his first coaching gig, guiding a group of nine year olds in support of the indoor program that now retired teacher Lloyd Ribeiro would run at the school.

Exposed to a great many very helpful soccer coaches, from his earliest support via the Sudbury mainstay that was Tom Ryan and on through the various phases of his playing career, Politi was constantly acquiring knowledge.

He would take it to a whole new level, however, as he completed Teacher’s College at the University of Toronto, all while assisting the legend that is York Lions Master Coach Carmine Isacco. “I learned a lot from my youth but my eyes really opened up with regards to understanding the game and coaching when I went to Toronto,” said Politi.

Such was the toolbox with which he returned home in 2003 – that fortuitous moment when his path would cross with a dear and long-time friend. “When I was playing at Laurentian, I helped out Fabio Belli with the Panhellenic girls,” recalled Politi.

“That was probably the real moment for me, Fabio giving me a chance.”

Politi was young, still in his early twenties as he guided the team of 1990 born female talent though to OYSL (Ontario Youth Soccer League) play, making the mistakes that youth and inexperience will carry – but always maintaining the passion.

“I’ve matured over time,” said Politi with a smile. “I’m not sweating the small things, running better practice sessions, enjoy better interpersonal relationships. You get better over time; you get better by practicing.”

An academically-inclined gent by nature, Politi would supplement his hands-on experience with a boatload of in-class learnings. “You can’t even compare how I started in my twenties to how I coached in my thirties,” he said. “By the time I did the A license in Canada, the licensing in the U.S. and travelled to Europe three times (FIFA courses), it totally changed me.”

“Now I hope to bring that back to Sudbury and help other coaches get better.”

His current role as Technical Director of the Greater Sudbury Soccer Club – along with his full-time employment as a secondary school teacher – would give cause to at least some time to ponder the offer at hand as he was approached about coaching the Sudbury Cyclones in League One play this summer.

“I need to be able to balance everything – but I certainly take some pride in being the first coach of a semi-pro team in Sudbury in more than fifty years,” said Politi.

As far as what he expects to see on the field, the well-spoken soccer man is trying to approach it with an open mind. “Tactically, I don’t really know what we’re getting into – it’s a brand new league,” he noted. “I am assuming that it’s going to be a good level of play, probably just a bit higher than post-secondary.”

“In a perfect world, we might be able to play a more attractive brand of soccer with this team.”

Spoken like a man whose passion for the Beautiful Game knows very few boundaries.

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