Nick Massimo is a Long Island native but he has taken a circuitous route to his current day coaching duties with the Hauppauge Soccer League.
His experience within the Long Island soccer community dates back to the mid to late 1970s when he played keeper and central midfield as a youngster with the West Islip Soccer Club, a long time member of the Long Island Junior Soccer League.
Currently, as a volunteer with the Hauppauge club, he is the organization’s only active coach who does not have a child currently enrolled in the program. For his efforts, Massimo has been named April Personality of the Month by the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association.
While Massimo’s first experience with The Beautiful Game took place in Long Island, he would hone his skills in soccer-crazed Italy. His father, Fred, was a member of the United States Air Force and the Massimo family moved to Rome when Nick was nine years old.
“My father’s love of the game translated to me and he coached me in my early soccer days,” Massimo said. “I went to an American school in Rome where I continued to play soccer from middle school, culminating with playing varsity my junior and senior years. We competed against other American and international schools in Italy.”
He graduated from American Overseas School of Rome in 1987 and eight years later returned to the U.S. along with his wife, Denise, and re-established his Long Island roots in Hauppauge.
At the turn of the century, Massimo began volunteering with the Hauppauge Soccer League when he started coaching his daughter Maria in Hauppauge’s intramural program, followed by coaching his son Nicky.
As Massimo had lived in Italy and Hauppauge wears blue uniforms, it was only natural that his son’s team would be named the Hauppauge Azzurri. They were together for 14 years through Nicky’s senior year of high school, winning two LIJSL division championships and one LIJSL Sportsmanship Award along the way while moving up from the LIJSL’s Division 4 to become one of the top teams in Eastern New York.
Massimo was recently was honored as the Hauppauge Soccer League’s Volunteer of the Year at the LIJSL Convention on March 9. In honoring its long-time coach, the club wrote, “Nick was more than a coach to his players, he went above and beyond in his role, driving kids back and forth to practices, games and taking them to tournaments. He even paid for uniforms and equipment for players whose families were struggling financially. When you spoke to Nick about his team and players, his love of both was evident.”
When his son, Nicky, was finishing his youth playing days in Hauppauge, Massimo again answered the coaching call for a new crop of players, which included the youngest son of his friend, Steve Tursellino, a September 11th First Responder.
Tursellino, a Port Authority Police Officer, lost his battle with cancer leaving behind his wife, Lisa, and their children Jake, Ryan, Regan and Thomas.
Massimo has just started his fourth season with the Sharknados, which includes Tursellino’s son, Thomas.