A popular Vincentian sports club that dominated Brooklyn’s Caribbean Soccer in the 1980s and 1990s and was dubbed the “Kings of Brooklyn Caribbean Soccer” is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
According to Hairoun Sports Club’s long-standing president, Stanley “Luxie” Morris, a St. Vincent and the Grenadines Sports Ambassador, the club, among other activities, will celebrate its milestone with a gala awards ceremony on Aug. 17 at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center, 668 Logan St., Brooklyn.
Morris – a former St. Vincent and the Grenadines national soccer captain and coach and erstwhile coach of Team SVG-USA (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) in Brooklyn’s Caribbean Soccer Cup – said the event will be held under the auspices of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ New York Consulate General.
He said “soccer legends” of Victoria Park, in Kingstown, the Vincentian capital, will be honored, as well as “legends of 79 of Arnos Vale.”
Among the honorees will be Notre Dame’s “Fab 4” – Jeff Bailey, Rudolph “Rudy” Boucher, Douglas Doyle and Norbert Hall. Notre Dame was one of the leading soccer teams in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Morris said a Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Basil “Bung” Cato, a former president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Association, now federation, who managed the St. Vincent and the Grenadines 1979 soccer team, the 1992 World Cup squad, and the Under 19 Cable and Wireless teams.
Cato had coined the phrase, “Soccer, the game of the people.”
Derek Dupont, the Hairoun striker, who “transformed the game of soccer in Brooklyn,” will be the “Recipient of Deserving Honor,” Morris said.
In addition, he said special honors will be bestowed on Gladstone George, “Notre Dame and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ erstwhile fan at Victoria Park in the 60-80’s.”
Morris also said former national soccer players – “Babs” Jones, Sydney Mandeville, Keith “Slick” Bonadie and Dr., Brother William Muckett – will be honored posthumously.
Additionally, Morris said about 30 current and former soccer stars players will receive Certificates of Recognition.
“It will be a night of story-telling, fellowship, laughter, food and drink, catching up, players with players, fans from far and wide, with old idols from Victoria Park,” said Morris about the gala cerebration on the night before the annual, massive Vincy Unity Picnic in East Islip, Long Is.
Morris said Hairoun Sports Club will next year honor some former netballers at the Nutricia Center and the cricketers at the St. Vincent Grammar School — both in Kingstown.
“Hairoun SC (Soccer Club) was the ‘voice’ of Vincentians in the Diaspora during the 1980s through the 1990s, through its dominance in the sport of soccer in Brooklyn, New York at our ‘home away from home,’ the Boys and Girls stadium, slotted in the middle of Central Brooklyn,” Morris said.
“Hairoun SC brought joy to the thousands of Vincentians on the weekends; games were played every Saturday and Sunday,” he added.
Morris said Hairoun first participated in the Five Boro Soccer League, winning the championship from 1981 to 1983, then moved to the newly-formed Central Brooklyn Soccer League (CBSL) in 1984, where it held the championship title for over two decades.
Hairoun players dominated Team SVG-USA when the Caribbean Soccer Cup was launched in 1992.
“Hairoun dominated CBSL, and Team SVG-USA destroyed the other 11 countries in CCI (Caribbean Cup, Inc.) with an emphatic hattrick of championships from 1993 – 1995,” Morris said. “Both teams continued their dominance well into the 2000s —Hairoun to 2008, Team SVG-USA to 2014.
“SVG, we love you, and that’s why we did what we did for so long,” he added. “We kept the flag (St. Vincent and the Grenadines’) flying highest for four decades.” (NELSON A. KING)