Sporting seven trophies attesting to its utter sweep of division, league, and state titles in Division III men’s soccer, the East Hampton Football Club celebrated on Saturday evening in Sag Harbor what its head coach, John Romero, said has been an unprecedented run.
Romero, a native of Colombia who has played a key role in developing soccer talent here for the past 20 years, said at the party, given at Corey DeRosa’s house on Bayview Avenue, that Long Island Soccer Football League officials had told him “no team has ever done what we have in the league’s 65-year history.”
The team, said he and DeRosa, who is Romero’s coaching assistant and one of the team’s goalies, hopes to move up in the fall to the L.I.S.F.L.’s top division, thus bypassing competition in Division II. No East Hampton men’s soccer team has ever played at the Division I level.
“Only one other Division III team jumped up to Division I before, and they were slaughtered,” said Romero, who added that if the E.H.F.C. does move up to D-1, he’d be happy if it finished next season in the middle of the pack.
But his son John Jr.’s expectations are higher. “Our goal is to win,” he said in a separate conversation. “We don’t want to be satisfied with just doing okay.”
The club is undefeated thus far, in league, cup, and tournament play. “When I told you recently we were 28-0, I forgot a whole series of other games,” said DeRosa, a former Hofstra goalie who is a popular Ashtanga Yoga teacher in Sag Harbor.
(One of those wins, by a score of 8-0, came in a friendly match with Port Jefferson, the two-time defending Division I champion.)
“Everyone knows about us now,” said Romero, who is especially proud that among the cups the club has won is one given out by the league for sportsmanship. Moreover, one of E.H.F.C.’s players, Gehider Garcia, won Division III’s “goleador” award given to its high-scorer.
Romero recently returned from Brazil, where he saw seven of the World Cup games, an absence, he said, with a laugh, that may have had something to do with his perennial-champion Maidstone Market team’s so-so play in this summer’s 7-on-7 league.
The 10-time winners, the playoffs’ fourth seed, lost 5-4 in a penalty kick shootout to top-seeded Tortorella Pools in a semifinal game played July 16 at East Hampton’s Herrick Park.
Diego Marles’s first-half goal had treated the Market to a 1-0 lead, but Cristian Munoz of Tortorella tied it up early in the second half, after which the opposing goalies — DeRosa for Maidstone and Alex Mesa for Tortorella — traded great saves.
Munoz, Tortorella’s third to go in the shootout, was the first to miss, his shot bouncing down off the underside of the crossbar, but his opposite number, Gehider Garcia, also missed, his shot going wide right, evening the count at 2-2.
After Danny Bedoya’s score had put Tortorella up 5-4, Maidstone’s Angel Garces, one of its younger players, and its sixth to go, sent his shot over the crossbar, prompting a celebration by Tortorella’s players.
In the other semifinal, Hampton F.C.-Bill Miller bested Cuenca F.C. 3-2.
Two of Bill Miller’s goals were scored by a native of Ukraine, Andriy Pozdniakov — the first with an assist from Jose Almansa, the second following a free kick taken by Roger Quinceno. Oscar Reinoso’s goal late in the second half made it 3-1 Bill Miller. Cuenca’s Cristian Bautista got one back for his team near the end of the game.
Quinceno was red-carded by the referee, Alex Ramirez, in the final minutes for not having told him he was leaving the field of play, but Romero and DeRosa said later that that penalty, which would have kept Quinceno out of last night’s final, was contrary to the league’s rules.
Bill Miller, then a new entry in 7-on-7 play, won the playoff trophy last summer, defeating Tortorella 4-3. Maidstone won last fall’s playoff championship, defeating Tortorella 4-1.