William “Pat” McComiskey was born on November 26, 1915 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was in the streets of Belfast that he first learned this beautiful game that he grew to love. In the late 1930s, he joined the British Royal Air Force. It was while serving in the RAF that he obtained the nickname “Pat” due to his Irish roots. World War II broke out shortly after Pat’s enlistment in the RAF. Pat played soccer all over the world while serving with the RAF. Eventually he was stationed in Canada. He met an American there who fixed him up on a blind date with a New York City girl named Dorothy Kearns. Dorothy was the daughter of a once famous, ranked heavyweight fighter of the early twentieth century named “Soldier” Kearns. Pat and Dorothy fell in love and were married in 1944. Pat still had several more years of service with the RAF and he continued playing soccer on various unit teams.
Pat was discharged in 1948 and settled with his wife in Woodside, NY. Pat’s brother-in-law helped him get a job with KLM, the Royal Dutch Airlines at Idlewild Airport (Now JFK). Pat eventually joined the airport soccer team, the Idlewild Airliners, and played in the New York German-American League. Pat then became an American citizen, one of his proudest accomplishments. Pat and his wife began to have a family. They needed a bigger home and so moved to the Village of Massapequa Park in 1956. They also became members of the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes. The McComiskey family continued to grow with daughters Maureen, Patricia, Marian, and Elizabeth, and son Edward.
As the Parish of Our Lady of Lourdes grew, the Irish pastor, Father Fagan, began a Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) sports program. He asked Pat to coach the soccer team. Pat quickly accepted. Things were difficult during the first few years because very few American kids had even heard of soccer at that time. Pat went to the football coach and asked for all of the kids the football coach had cut. Pat had to resort to this unusual recruiting method for several years until he established a strong reputation and a winning program. Behind Pat’s coaching, Our Lady of Lourdes retired the Diocese of Rockville Center’s CYO Soccer Championship Trophy by winning the championship three years in a row. The popularity of soccer began catching on in the area. Soon, Pat began receiving requests for cut players from the football coach. Pat was very proud of this story and PTI sports caster Tony Kornheiser and author Jared Lebow thought enough of the story to mention it in a New York Times article (Kornheiser) and a soccer book (Lebow).
Pat became acquainted with many other CYO soccer coaches such as Pat Ryder and Peter Collins. Pat, along with these men and other CYO soccer coaches from around Long Island began discussing establishing a youth soccer league. At first, these coaches used mostly their current and past CYO players to make up the teams. This was the beginning of the Long Island Junior Soccer League. Pat realized that in order to make the LIJSL successful, teams at all age levels from towns around Long Island had to be formed. Pat went back to Massapequa and began contacting people throughout the town who might be interested in forming a soccer league in the Massapequa area that could compete in the LIJSL and also provide an intramural league for developing and recreational soccer players. Pat contacted men such as McKenna Junior High soccer coach Hank Oustecky, former U.S. National team player Joe Maca, Massapequa High School JV soccer coach Bob Elder, Alan Mahr, Juergen Bombowski, and a recently arrived British and American professional soccer player and the new coach of the New York Cosmos, Gordon Bradley. These men were all interested in forming a youth soccer program that would be different from typical Little League Baseball and youth football leagues. They wanted to just get kids to play soccer and develop the same passion for it that they had. They did not want a “win at all costs” attitude that seemed to be common in other youth sports. After many long hours of meetings and planning and trying to get fields built in places like Walker Street and Burns Park, these men, led by Pat McComiskey, founded the Massapequa Soccer Club in 1970. Pat was elected the first president of the club. That first year the club signed up about 500 kids. Pat’s dream of seeing the popularity of soccer grow in the U.S. began to become a reality.
Pat served as president for about two years. He held many other posts in the club over the years and still continued to coach in both the MSC and OLL CYO. Eventually, his good friend Gordon Bradley asked Pat to become the equipment manager for the NASL team he was coaching, the Washington Diplomats. Pat took the job and worked with such famous players as Johan Cruyff, Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Teofilo Cubillas, Carlos Alberto, Gerd Mueller, and his favorite player of all time, George Best. Pat also took the opportunity to coach in the Northern Virginia area in such clubs as Annandale and Braddock Road. He even served as assistant coach on the 1984 Woodbridge High School Virginia State Championship boys’ soccer team. Pat has also coached at numerous other clubs and school teams on Long Island, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida, and even helped coach in several Special Olympics programs. Pat continued to coach into his eighties and, even into his nineties served as an advisor to his son Ed, who was coaching at Ridgewood High School in New Port Richey, FL. Pat has also served as a coach at several soccer camps where he worked with such notable coaches as U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer Ephrain “Chico” Chaucurian, John Ellis, and U.S. Womens National Team coach April Heinrichs.
Pat was very proud of the Massapequa Soccer Club but what especially made him happy was seeing how former club players went on to lead successful lives and he always liked to think that he had something to do with that. Pat’s face would light up when he saw or heard about the success of some former member of the club like Brian Kilmeade (Fox News), Jim Kilmeade (coach of the LI Roughriders), Bill Manning (event manager of the Tampa Bay Mutiny), Mike Gribbon (professional player on the New England/Jacksonville Teamen of the NASL) Stephen Baldwin (actor), and thousands of others.
In 2005, at the age of 89, Pat was recognized for his contributions to the sport of soccer by being inducted into the Long Island Junior Soccer League’s Hall of Fame. Pat was extremely honored and humbled in receiving this recognition. Unfortunately, Pat passed away in May of 2009 at the age of 93. He will be sorely missed.
Pat would be very proud of the prestigious honor of having the intramural tournament named for him and he would consider it his greatest accomplishment to see these kids playing the game he so loved here in the Massapequa Soccer Club Pat McComiskey Father’s Day Intramural Tournament. On behalf of Pat and the McComiskey family, thank you to the Massapequa Soccer Club and especially Brian Kilmeade for making this honor possible.