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PROLOGUE

Colone Associates; after 60! "What's past is prologue":

Since turning the "big 6-O", I've been finding that it's now all about fulfilling that "promotional bucket list" of exciting new adventures to take me to the finish line. After some 35 years connected to organized sport programs, over the past 15 years, with my tech partners at Visible Motion, we fashioned, shaped, then re-shaped "Growing Up Soccer" [GUS] which is now poised for a national, indeed an international launch. It's positioned to be "the next big thing!"

From my earliest years of awareness of soccer, to my active involvement in the development of soccer hall, something has always intrigued me that soccer had something special, something that made it stand-out from all the other sports. What was it about this game? There were those obvious features; universality, it was totally non-discriminating, it was easy to understand, the high physical demand on players, color on the field of play, but above all, the simplicity of the game!

The first time that it hit me across the "noggin" was in the late 70's while I was with the City of Oneonta Recreation Department. It was around the time that we started the Oneonta Mayor's Cup Collegiate Soccer Tournament. It was almost a daily occurrence to look out of my office windows to see Hartwick College soccer players informally having a kick-about, even during the playing season. Why? Clearly, these guys had something inside that drove them to the ball and the game beyond practice sessions and matches. Is that why, in 1977 that little Hartwick College won the NCAA Men's Division #I national championship?

Then, in the early 80's, at a convention of the Long Island Junior Soccer League it hit me once again. I took the time to listen in on a presentation on coaching youth soccer players from the esteemed professor, Dr. Julio Mazzei, the great Pele's personal trainer, confidant and coach. At the end of his session, a parent-coach from the audience asked "the Professor," "what should I be teaching the players on my under 12 team?" Dr. Mazzei's reply in his broken English was; "flair and creativity, appreciation of space, speed with the ball and touch on the ball." That just blew my mind and gave me the long overdue answer to what had been gnawing at me; that special thing about soccer. It's nature's game - it's the player's game! It's driven by the heart and the mind and provides all of the personal fulfillment an athlete, at any level, could ever want!

So the road began for me to find others who might reinforce the professor's views and words. I heard the same from Walt Bahr [US WC-1950] who would always say, "let'm play." The ball and informal play will be their teacher. Coach Manny Shellsheidt, former 1973 NASL Philly "Atoms" star and respected coach of many US National Teams, noted that we can teach players how to defend, but that "attacking soccer is born on the playground!" One of his prime pupils, and former MNT player, Tab Ramos [US WC 90-94-98], told me that growing-up in New Jersey, that his best friend was his soccer ball! It was all coming together!! It's about the ball and informal play, it's about quality of play, it's personal passion building and lifelong enjoyment of the game. My ongoing research brought like views from so many globally impacting soccer personalities, consistently reinforcing, completely and fully answering that long-time curiosity of what was unique about soccer.

So, with Visible Motion, in the late 90's we began to formulate a marketing initiative surrounding this very theme, and now it's ready to go. We branded it, "Growing Up Soccer," GUS. Click here to read more

Also, on my personal promotional "bucket list," since 2009, my cousin-in-law and I began to discuss the declining economy in our home community of Oneonta, NY. Between the two of us, we had a combined 110 years of residency in Oneonta. It's no secret that most small cities throughout the Upstate NY Region had been struggling with declining populations, shrinking tax bases, the exodus of young people looking for expanded socio-economic opportunity, elsewhere. Eighty percent of "our local kids" graduating from our high schools were leaving us and at the same time, most young people who came to Oneonta to attend Oneonta State and Hartwick, have little reason to stay beyond graduation. We saw this gradual decline continuing and wanted to see if we could do something about it. So, in October of 2011, we formed the Greater Oneonta Economic Development Council [GO-EDC] to try and bring people together with a common purpose to grow business and commercial sustainability within the geographic footprint of the City and Town of Oneonta, NY.
Life Enjoyed GO-EDC is a project oriented organization planning and advancing diverse initiatives to include Oneonta Sports Tourism, rail-yard revitalization at RiverCorp, new thinking surrounding expanded commercial development at Oneonta Airport, Town/City beautification ideas, expanding the "Life Enjoyed" branding effort, a hops-beer grains-craftbrewing program, and other initiatives. To find-out more about GO-EDC, click here

Then there's the jazz quartet, Compass, which I've been an active member of for over 42 years. With 3 of the original members, including me who are now either retired or semi retired, we've been taking-on more frequent performing opportunities in NY, PA and NJ. Our keyboard player is evaluating the idea of retiring in June of 2014, opening-up the possibilities of a year round, future schedule at festivals, college campuses and with cultural community arts organization performances.

To find-out more about Compass, click here