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Published on April 3rd, 2014 | by Staples Soccer


Wrecker Respect, From A Long-Ago Foe

Back in the day, Rippowam High School was an FCIAC opponent.

It’s now the site of a Stamford magnet school (and its field is where JV and freshman teams play). Between 1962 and 1983 — when the Stamford school closed — Staples racked up a 17-1-1 record against “Ripp.”

Most Wreckers have forgotten about that 1 tie. But Dick Coleman remembers it well.

The other day he found, and sent this email. It’s a testament to the power of Staples soccer, and the importance of competition. It’s why we play the game.

Dick wrote:

What was greatest upset vs Staples? Not sure, but maybe this one.

In 1968 I captained Rippowam’s team. We had never won, tied, or even scored a goal against Staples.

Our own coach intimidated us by passing out your lineup and positions a few days before the game. We memorized  the names of all those star players. I still remember the Hands, Baumanns, etc.

I scored a goal on a long shot. Staples got a penalty shot on a hand ball later to tie. My friend who got the hand ball told me he did it on purpose to stop a sure goal.

I ran out the clock with 30 seconds to go because for us, a tie versus Staples was a victory!

I now work in the NHL and have two Stanley Cup rings, but I rate this moment as one of my best in sports.

The Wreckers look forward to meeting Dick at a Staples match this fall. Unfortunately, it won’t be against Rippowam.

Fun fact: Rippowam’s most famous graduate is Bobby Valentine. The former Los Angeles Dodgers star, and New York Mets and Boston Red Sox manager, was a classmate of Dick Coleman’s.

Extra fun fact: Former Staples JV coach Joe Pierce is a Rippowam grad.


Dick Coleman (left) shakes hands with Staples captain Chris Keneally before the 1968 match. Though the site is clearly Rippowam, the Wreckers wore white, the home team dark.

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