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Connecticut Soccer Hall Of Fame

Connecticut Soccer Hall Of Fame

Class of 2017

Dave Clarke, Mario Gilardini, Joseph LaRosa, Christopher Parsons, Thomas Poitras, Catherine Spence, Wolfgang Woischke

Photographs from the 2017 Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame Induction.

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Dave Clarke has been successful in each of his playing and coaching endeavors. He played at Central Connecticut State University (1988-91) and for the Connecticut Wolves (USISL/A-League, 1993-98). Clarke has been a successful youth, high school, and college coach, including: West Hartford Soccer Club (1988-94, State Cup Winners 1990, 1992, 1994), Newington High School Boys (CCC South Champions 1995, 1996), University of New Haven Women (1998-99, NECC Coach of the Year 1998), Windsor World Class Girls (U16 USYSA National Champions 1999), and  Quinnipiac University Women (1999-Present, NEC Coach of the Year 2000).  He has been the Director of the CJSA Coach Education Program (1997-2003) and is currently a United States National Staff Coach (1998-Present).

Mario Gilardini has been on the field officiating high school games for over 25 years. He has been deeply involved in West Hartford and Avon Soccer Clubs for more than 20 years, serving as referee assignor for both. Gilardini has been president of the West Hartford Youth Soccer Association (Boys) since 1990. He was a regular referee and assignor for the Women’s Soccer League in West Hartford from 1998 - 2013. As a player, Gilardini played for Triestina Soccer Club in the Connecticut Soccer League from 1962-64. He was a board member of the Italian American Stars in the mid 1960’s.

Joe LaRosa was the founder of the Connecticut Soccer Hall of Fame in 1999. He served as Secretary of Connecticut State Soccer Association, 1993-1999, and earned the Connecticut State Soccer Association Media Award in 1992. Joe has been a soccer writer, author, TV analyst and producer (1980-1994). He hosted and produced SOCCER SCENE, weekly local soccer program featured at halftime of live Serie A matches from Italy broadcast on RAI America affiliate, WRDM-TV13. He provided In-studio commentating for RAI America affiliate, WRDM-TV-13’s international soccer broadcasts. Additionally, LaRosa was an analyst for ESPN INTERNATIONAL worldwide cablecasts of soccer. LaRosa’s soccer coverage was published by AP, UPI, Soccer America, The Herald of New Britain, The Day of New London & several Connecticut weekly newspapers. he covered youth, high school, amateur, professional & international soccer including the 1994 World Cup. Joe also wrote three books on soccer: World Cup Soccer Trivia, World Class & America’s World Cup.

Chris Parsons played youth soccer in Farmington, Connecticut, winning U12-19 state championships (1976-83). He captained Farmington High School to a state title in 1982 and earned All State honors that year. Chris played collegiate soccer at Middlebury College and became an NCAA All American in 1986, leading his team to the #2 ranking in Division III, and played in the All New England Senior Bowl. Parsons continued into coaching at Champlain College (1993-97), Vassar (1997-2002), and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut (2002-present). Parsons has recorded over 200 college wins and his record at USCGA stands at 132-114-32. He earned NSCAA Regional Coach of the Year Award (1995) and the NEWMAC Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year in 2007, 2012, and 2014.

Catherine Spence was a powerful goal-scorer for Hartford Publicfrom 1980-83. She scored 107 goals in 3 years and earned NSCAA All New England recognition in 1983. She was inducted into the Hartford Public Hall of Fame in 2012. Spence went on to play collegiate soccer at UMASS Amherst. She was an NSCAA All American in 1985 and represented the East team at the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1986. She led UMass to 4 straight NCAA Final Four appearances, placing 3rd (1984), 4th (1985 & 86), and 2nd (1987). Her five goals set a NCAA tournament scoring record in 1984.


Tom Poitras was an All-State player at Southington High School. He became a NCAA Division II National Champion player at Southern CT State University in 1987 and played professionally for the CT Wolves (1993-94). As a collegiate coach, he led the University of New Haven men from 1994-97, (38-32-5), and earned 1996 New England Collegiate and NEISL Coach of the Year awards. Poitras continued his coaching at Southern New Hampshire University (1998-2003, 81-25-16) and led them to the NCAA Division II National Championship match 2002. earning the 2002 NSCAA Division II New England Region Coach of the Year. Moving on to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, (2004-2010, 72-46-18), Poitras led them to the Horizon League Championship for the first time in program history, and the NCAA Division 1 Tournament for the first time in 26 years. Poitras returned to the state in 2011 as the men’s coach at the University of Hartford, and has compiled a 53-45-19 record to date. He is a US Soccer Development Academy National Team Scout and former ODP Region I and Region II staff coach.

Wolfgang Woischke came to Mitchell College in New London, CT, after playing at Port Washington HS in Nassau County, NY. Wolfgang earned All American recognition at Mitchell in 1967 and was team captain in 1968. He continued playing at University of Bridgeport and was an All New England selection and NEISL All Star in 1970. He led his team to the NCAA tournament and was their team captain and MVP. Woischke played for the Bridgeport Italians (1970-73) and won the CT Soccer League title in 1971. He played professionally for the Connecticut Wildcats (1974) and Connecticut Yankees of the American Soccer League in 1975. Woischke coached Bullard-Havens Technical HS (1973-77) and reached the Class L title game in 1977. Woischke was inducted into the Mitchell College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. Senior Executive VIP Hospitality Program Partner for 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.


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