2017 marked the 39 year anniversary of the club’s existence. We are one of the oldest and most respected soccer clubs on the East Coast.
What Is In A Name?
Boca is the Spanish word for mouth, and it’s also the name of a world famous soccer club from Argentina, Boca Jrs. They are named after a region in Argentina, the “mouth of the River Plate” in Buenos Aries. In 1977 and again 1978, they were the winners of the Libertardos Cup, symbolic of South American Club Champions. In 1978, Boca Jrs went on to become World Club Champions when they won the Toyota Cup. In 1978, Argentina with a National Team of mostly Boca Jrs players hosted the World Cup and won it. The club is rich with history and tradition. The Boca Jrs strip of all blue shirt with a gold horizontal band is one of the most recognized “club strips” in the world. Many “world class” players have worn the Boca Jrs strip, the most famous of course, Diego Maradona. 1978 was a very big year for Argentina soccer and the Boca Jrs Club, it was also the year Jersey Shore Boca from New Jersey was formed.
It was at a National Coaching School, that two men from the Jersey Shore, Walt Pericciuoli and Phil Morretta got together. They wanted to continue the development of the most talented players in the shore. Their simple idea was to select the very best players in the shore so they could compete against the very best from all around the country. They also believed these players should also receive the very best training. Until 1978, this idea had never been tried at the Jersey Shore. After careful planning and recruiting, a team of U18 boys was selected. Walt and Phil enjoyed the “Latin style” of play, and they wanted a name for their team that was unique and symbolized their ideas of how the game should be played. In 1978 “Jersey Shore Boca” seemed just right.
The Early Years
The first two years Boca U18 were undefeated in league play and tournament ball, but were beaten each year in the semi final round of the State Cup. The reputation of the team grew so that there were too many players trying out for the one team. A second team was formed in 1980. In the third year, both the first team and the second team finished one and two in the league, and would have played each other in the State Cup Final had not both of them been eliminated by penalty kicks in the semi finals.
As the years past, the team and club grew. The Boca Club’s reputation became such that players were drawn from all around the state and in some cases from outside the state. There have been many memorable matches to include a match versus the fabled Celtic Boys from Scotland. It was their coach who paid the highest compliment when he said, ” the Boca boys were the toughest match they had on their tour” in 1981. That was a Boca loss 4-2, after being ahead at the half 2-0. This was an especially gratifying comment for the Boca coaches as the Celtic Boys had demolished the U18 USA National team 11-1 just three days earlier. Other than the local host club Kearny, the Celtic Boys played only the National team or Regional Select teams. Since that match, numerous Boca teams have competed against many foreign clubs at prestigious tournaments in the USA and in Europe.
WOW… Look At Some Of Our Alumni
There have been four senior National team players out of the club: George Gelnovatch, Ric Lansing, Dan McGuire and Ted Gillen. After a successful college and professional career, Gelnovatch is currently the head men’s soccer coach at the University of Virginia and former US Under-18 Men’s National Team Coach. Both Lansing and McGuire played professionally in Europe. Gillen achieved All-American status while at Penn State and played for the NY-NJ Metrostars of MLS in 1996 and 1997. Two members from the Boca 2006 U23 men’s team, Chris Konopka and Teddy Niziolek, were selected by the Kansas City Wizards and Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer in the MLS 2007 Supplemental Draft.
In addition, there have also been several USSF Youth National Team players, USYSA Regional team players and too many to count NJ O.D.P. State level players from Jersey Shore Boca. Jersey Shore Boca can boast of a more
than 95% rate of our players going on to play at a college level soccer program. We are proud of the fact that college coaches know us well and are not afraid to call our coaches for scouting reports on our players and sometimes reports on players not in our club.The Boca story is filled with accomplishments and victories. Our youth players have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, businessmen, police officers,
soccer coaches and professional soccer players. Many now have their own children
playing the same sport they love.
Boys To Men and The NESSL
In 1990, in the spirit of continuing the philosophy of developing players to their highest potential, we were able to place a men’s team in the North East Super Soccer League (NESSL). It was an excellent regional semi-professional league. It was a natural extension to what we were doing all along. It was a chance for our Boca players to continue their soccer development beyond their college careers and also provide the Shore Area with high level soccer. While we competed in the league, we averaged a paid attendance of nearly 450 fans per
game. We still have a men’s program and we currently compete in the New Jersey Champions League.
First Taste of the USISL At The Jersey Shore
In 1996, Jersey Shore Boca was instrumental in helping the NY/NJ Stallions establish a base of operation in Toms River. The Stallion management, which was mandated by the league to set up in the shore area, approached the Jersey Shore Boca Club for their help. It was Boca’s influence that helped the Stallions secure a playing facility, and make contact with all the key soccer and other essential people in the Toms River area It was Boca that provided the Stallions with most of the organizational and promotional manpower their first year. In fact, half way through their first season, the Stallions even hired two of Boca’s coaches. Walt Pericciuoli (head coach) and Tom Wieboldt (assistant) were selected to coach the team the rest of that season.
A Full Soccer Program
The Jersey Shore Boca Soccer Club has now grown to boys and girls youth teams from U11 through U23, a men’s and women’s open team and a men’s O30 team. The current Boca players know they are part of a club with rich traditions and long history. They know that no matter where their soccer travels take them, they will always have a place back with their old club. The men’s program has provided a source of experienced coaching and role models for the young players. The adult players take to the field wearing the same “strip” as the youth. The wearing of the same colors leads to great sense of camaraderie among the players of all ages. That bond of
loyalty often goes beyond the playing field. Young players can reach goals they set for themselves by emulating the adult players not just on the soccer field but also in their choice of careers. The “Boca kids” feel they are part of a full program they can belong to throughout life while keeping active in the sport they love so much.
Welcome to the United Soccer Leagues
Our club made significant strides as we headed into the 21st Century. In 2001, we became a full member of the most competitive youth soccer league in North America…. the USL’s Super Y-League. And in 2002, the United Soccer Leagues awarded Jersey Shore Boca a Premier Development League franchise. We began our first PDL season in 2003. Even before Jersey Shore Boca officially joined the USL, you would have seen numerous Boca alumni on various USL clubs.
An Old Frontier Re-Born
Throughout our 30 year history, Jersey Shore Boca has historically sanctioned a summer program each year that is designed for collegiate players who return home to the Shore for the summer and want to keep active in a highly competitive soccer environment. In the past several years, the Boca U23 program has re-established itself as one of the most recognized soccer environments in New Jersey for college age players to play and train over the spring and summer months.
During the 2006 season, the Boca U23 men set an overall club record of 16 wins and advanced to the semi-finals of the USASA U23 Regional Tournament. The 2007 U23 summer season finished as one of the most successful programs in the history of the club. The Boca U23 women took the pitch for their inaugural season and quickly established themselves as a highly respected program in the Northeast. The Boca U23 women were invited to the 2007 USASA U23 Regional Tournament and advanced to the finals of the MSSL Cup Championships during their first year together and in 2008, the Boca U23 women were participants in the USASA U23 Regional Tournament for a second straight year.
During 2009 in only their third year together, the Jersey Shore Boca U23 women’s team notched themselves a place in the record books as the ladies of the “blue and gold” topped-off a strong summer season together which culminated with the capture of the 2009 MSSL Cup. It is the first time during the Club’s six seasons of MSSL competition, that a Boca team, either men or women, has captured the MSSL Cup and also the first time in Club’s history that a women’s team of any age has captured a championship.
Our Story Is Just Beginning!!!!
The year 2017 marked our 39th anniversary and the Jersey Shore Boca story is only just beginning. Our current youth teams feature many shore area high school stars getting ready to continue their college careers. Our adult and U23 teams are attaining tremendous accomplishments and are striving to advance their play to the highest level possible. The Jersey Shore Boca program is still going strong after 39 years. We look forward to another 39 more!!!