NY Polet 1 captain with the championship trophy and LISFL board member Joe Brosi. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis, FrontRowSoccer.com Editor
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — At the age of 27, Christian Galindo claims he is past his prime.
“I’m old now,” the NY Polet 1 forward said. “My prime was five years ago.”
Tell that to the rest of the Long Island Soccer Football League. Galindo certainly is a ready for prime-time player. He estimated he tallied seven or eight goals in the league’s annual Joe Goldberg Indoor Tournament, including a hat-trick in his team’s 3-1 victory over NY Kosmos/Olympiacos United in the Premier and Division I final Sunday.
“I think I did pretty well,” he said. “My teammates play very well with me, so its easy to play. It’s easy to look good because they make me look good.”
Head coach Zvonimir Antolos second that motion after his team captured the indoor crown for the second consecutive year.
“Christian scored a lot of goals this tournament,” he said. “He was exceptional.”
During a span of 10:21, Galindo exceptional, tallying his three goals within a span of 10:21 to break the game open before Kosmos found the back of the net at Global Soccer at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
“It was a good game, a good opponent,” Galindo said. “We have a good team. We have a good core of guys who have been playing in different leagues, so we have good chemistry. I think that’s why we ended up on top.”
Galindo lifted NY Polet into the lead putting home a rebound on the left side with 16:07 remaining in the 20-minute match. He doubled the advantage with exactly 10 minutes to go with a shot from outside the penalty area before tapping home his third goal with 5:44 left.
“Lucio [Sorto] made a good cross and I was able to finish when I came across,” Galindo said of his third goal.
NY Kosmos pulled one back with 70 seconds remaining.
“It’s a 20-minute game,” Galindo said. “It’s good and bad. If you go down early, it could hurt you. But luckily we started off well, finished well and we were able to win.”
Nicknamed Z, Antolos gave all the credit to his team, which took home $1,000 for winning the tourney; NY Kosmos earned $650.
“I don’t know what to say,” he said. “The boys did it all by themselves. They are an amazing team. They’re really skilled. We’ve been together for a while now. We’ve traveled to Canada every year to play in a tournament. We’ve built a good team over here.”
In the group stage, NY Polet 1 ran the table winning all three of its games, outscoring its opponents, 13-1.
In Sunday’s knockout round, the team defeat NY Polet, 2-0, in the quarterfinals — the squad had two teams play in separate group sin the division, and NY Serbia in the semifinals, 2-1.
“This league is very competitive, with Serbia, Port Jefferson and Kosmos,” Antolos said. “Being here, it wasn’t easy, it was tough. But the boys pulled it out again. I really congratulate only them. All I have to do is make a lineup. They’re playing all the time.”
“Honestly, we’re playing really well, from the get-go. We didn’t have a tough time. The Serbia game was a little tight you know, we deserved it. We played every game better than the opponents. The kids are really in good shape and they’re proving it on the field. I am always humble and everything, but they were playing amazing. They were amazing. As a coach I was quiet and just celebrating.”
The secret to NY Polet’s success?
Coach and player felt it was the player’s familiarity to one another.
“A lot of these kids played in college together,” Galindo said. “We played in two leagues throughout the week, so we’re constantly playing. So, it’s pretty easy. It’s not like we play every four months. So we have good chemistry. We have good players as well.”
No one has to remind Antolos about that.
“We are friends on and off the field,” he said. “We are hanging out all the time. It’s fun to be with them. When we go on these trips [for games and tournament], we take it to another level. We go to beautiful dinners together. We don’t do like some other teams, let them go on their own. After the tournament we go to dinner together, keep it together.”
Antolos praised NY Polet president David Rosini, the driving force of the club. Rosini was inducted into the LISFL Hall of Fame in November.
“He’s really doing it the right way,” he said. “I am just his right hand and keeping this all together.”
Galindo was born and raised in Brentwood and played for Brentwood High School, perennially one of the best Class AA boys teams in Suffolk County, if not Long Island or the state. He played two years at St. Brook University before finishing his college career at New Jersey Institute of Technology.
At Brentwood, Galindo played under legendary head coach Ron Eden, who performed for the New York Apollo and New York United in the old American Soccer League and of course, the LISFL.
“He told me he played all over the place,” Galindo said. “A good guy, a good mentor. Good person. Someone to look up to, a good person in the Brentwood community. Definitely helps a lot of kids out.”
Before he left the indoor facility Sunday, Galindo talked about how much he has loved playing the beautiful game with a roof over his head.
“I like playing here. I like this field,” he said. “I like playing indoor. I just wish the games were a little longer, instead of 20 straight, maybe two 15’s or two 20’s. It’s a good tournament. It’s good to have this every year.”
Wait a minute!
Longer games will mean more scoring opportunities for Galindo. After his performance last week, that might be the last thing NY Polet’s LISFL foes will want.