(Long Island, NY) The famous quote from Teddy Roosevelt, “Talk softly and carry a big stick: you will go far,” may not be the rallying cry of the Long Island Rough Riders. But a team that uses an image of the great American hero in their logo is an attention grabber. Looking to get back to the championship level they tasted in 2002, the local affiliate of the United Soccer Leagues Second Division is prepping for their season opener on Saturday, April 22nd at the Mitchell Athletic Complex against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
The ‘Riders are looking to improve on their 7-13 record from last season. They recently signed a local player, Ricardo Ordain of Long Island University. Ordain graduated in 2005 and last season was a member of the USL 2nd Division championship team, the Charlotte Eagles, where he scored five goals and had one assist in 11 games.
The team resigned last season’s two leading scorers, forwards Moussa Sy and Derrick Etienne (nine goals each.) Etienne, a native of Nyack, will be joined once again by his twin brother Darrell, who is coming back to Long Island after a one-year absence. The sibling combo was a big part of the Rough Riders 2002 USL 2nd Division championship team. Local fans are hoping that lightning does strike twice in Nassau County.
Team Owner Peter Zaratin will be on his own after taking control of the club from Long Island Ducks owner Frank Boulton. The two had a rental agreement with the Rough Riders in which Zaratin ran the team. The 34-year old is a graduate of Glen Cove High School and a former professional soccer player. Now he is the man in charge and hopes to emulate the success that Boulton’s Ducks have had on and off the field.
The Rough Riders started out in 1994 as a USISL team. In their second season, they won the league championship and had talented players such as Tony Meola, Jim Rooney and Giovanni Savarese. Over the years there were mergers with other leagues and divisions being renamed. Eventually the Rough Riders joined their present league.
Soccer fans, get ready to cheer on your local professional team for the upcoming season. The Rough Riders play a 20 game schedule, with 9 home dates at the Mitchell Athletic Complex and one date (Wednesday June 7th) at Stony Brook University. Come out and see their mascot “Teddy”, who is a large caricature of Mr. Roosevelt. Our former president would be proud of a team name carrying on his tradition and his heroism during one of our country’s past wars.