September 22, 2013
THE BATTLE ON THE PITCH
Annual game between FDNY, NYPD is special in so many ways
By Michael Lewis
|FDNY captain Joe Brosi: "It's a game of pride and bragging rights."
Photo by Michael Lewis
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Back in the day, games between the College Point Flames and College Point Enforcers were played twice a year.
They were special games, no doubt.
But the teams have gone their separate ways. The FDNY squad plays in the Long Island Soccer Football League while the NYPD side performs in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League.
Because of that, Sunday's Battle of the Pitch is extra special to the participants. They will tussle on the Red Bull Arena field after the Red Bulls play FC Dallas at 5 p.m. Sunday. The fifth edition of the encounter is expected to kick off between 7-7:30 p.m.
"It's a game of pride and bragging rights," FDNY captain Joe Brosi said at the New York Cosmos' Heroes Night last week. "We only see each other in cups from time to time. We used to play in the same league. This is our annual opportunity to get together, raise money for charity, which is most important, raise awareness of what we're doing, show people that cops and firefighters could really put out a high level of the game Being here."
The FDNY and NYPD held clinics for children prior to the Cosmos' home game against Minnesota United last wee.
"The Cosmos, the Red Bulls, it's all about soccer. We have friends through the soccer community throughout the world. It's two great organizations," Brosi said. "This was an opportunity to do a clinic with the kids, where you might not have that opportunity before a Major League Soccer game in the stadium. This is a little bit of a different atmosphere. To be able to play at the highest level in New York with the Red Bulls and Major League Soccer for us is a great opportunity."
Ronald Mejia of the NYPD reminded supporters on Facebook that while the team is taking on the FDNY, it will have two games in the CSL on Sunday. The Enforcers' reserve team was scheduled to play FC Japan at Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Field 8 at 8 a.m., followed by the first team match at 10 a.m.
When the FDNY and NYPD teams take the field at RBA Sunday night, it won't be the the Flames vs. the Enforcers, but rather the Bravest vs. the Finest, Brosi said.
Last year the FDNY prevailed after a long penalty-kick shootout at RBA.
"Anyone who left early missed a great game," Brosi said. "When we look at the DVD and look at the highlights, it was really a well played game. We were ahead, the cops tied the game and we went into penalty shots and I think it was 12 penalty shots or something before the game was decided. It was some game. You don't want to see a game decided by penalty kicks, but if you had to see penalty kicks in something like that, I like anyone who was still there really had a good time. I think those guys [NYPD]are hungry. It's been back and forth. They're a lot younger than we are."
Brosi, who once played in the match, will coach the Fire Dept. team.
"I found my value is more important on the sideline than on the field a number of years ago," he said. "Playing and coaching is only good when a team can't breath any more and think.
"We train, play and knock it around. We're a much different team over the years now. Our guys have played in college, played somewhere at a decent level. They're fit. That's why we play. We play for the camaraderie and physical fitness. We train hard. We train one or two days a week and the we play on Sundays. It's all over 30, 35, 40. But they're fit and they're in game shape."