NYC POLAND IS PREPARING FOR A BIG SUMMER FOR POLISH SOCCER
2012 is a big year for Polish soccer both here and abroad. Poland will co-host the European Championships with Ukraine in June and July. Closer to home, NYC Poland is looking to continue its dominance of Cosmos Copa, the premier amateur soccer tournament in the area. Poland was the Copa champions in 2010 and 2011 and they are looking to make it a three-peat this year. Cosmoscopa.com sat down with the Polish coach, Mark Kasprowicz to hear about his preparations for this year's tournament and his thoughts on this summer's EURO's.
Cosmos Copa: How are the preparations going for this year's tournament?
Mark Kasprowicz: The same way we did it last year. I drive around to all of the Polish club team games and see how the players are doing. Towards the end of May we'll start scrimmaging other Copa teams.
CC: What have you or your players been up to since last year's tournament?
MK: Some of the younger guys went back to college, to seton hall, and the rest went back to their club teams.
CC: What were the celebrations like after winning Cosmos Copa in 2011?
MK: It was just like the year before. We all went to Jonny's cafe in Ridgewood and had a big party afterwards. Then we went to Zoom Pub in Wallington and continued the celebrations there.
CC: What was it like having Teddy's Niziolek's wonder goal be seen by so many fans last year?
MK: It was a big deal. We were in Zoom Pub after practice with a bunch of the Copa guys. We got the text and then put the tvs on in the bar and turned down the music and put on ESPN and everyone got really excited. Then we saw how the goal was on facebook and everybody was talking about.
CC: What changes have you made to your team for 2012?
MK: Not really any big changes because what we have been doing has been working. We do have three important guys that were injured last year that are returning as well as some of the new younger guys from Seton Hall.
CC: How is (2010 Tournament MVP and top scorer) Chris Karcz doing? He missed the 2011 tournament through injury, has he been playing?
MK: He's playing and practicing and I talked to him last week. hopefully he'll be ready. He's probably at 75% right now. He's trying to get back in to shape and in form.
CC: How has the Polish community in New York been preparing for the Euros?
MK: A lot of people are leaving. A lot of people bought tickets for the games or are going to their home towns to be there for the tournament. Everybody is very excited about the Euros. We are actually worried that there will be less polish fans at the Copa this year because they'll all be in Poland.
CC: What celebrations do you have planned for the Euros?
MK: Nothing yet. Maybe we'll go to the team's clubhouses and watch the games. Whoever doesn't go to Poland, that is.
CC: What are your predictions for 2012? Are you guys going to do a three-peat?
MK: That's what we are hoping for but the competition gets stronger every year.
CC: Do you have any predictions for the Euros?
MK: With the groups the way they are and with the group of death with Germany, anything can happen. For Poland, we are just hoping that we get out of the group stages.
CC: Any new players to be looking out for?
MK: Karcz and Teddy are going to be our main guys but we have some new young guys that should be up there. We can't wait to get started.