Long before he became one of the most successful coaches in New Jersey amateur soccer, Armando Maria Silva Spencer was a promising young player dreaming od a professional career in his native Portugal.
He realized his dream when he moved from his birthplace in the city of Mindelo on S. Vicente Island in the Capo Verde Islands to Lisbon and signed with Benfica.
His soccer career in his hometown began with the Academia do Mindelo club in his hometown at a young age, and within a few years he was part of the S. Vicente Island All-Stars and playing in various inter-island tournaments.
In 1955, at age 20, he moved to Lisbon and signed a pro-loan to Coruchense, a satellite club playing in the 2nd Division. While adapting to life in his “new world” Armando played two seasons for Corunchense. Although benfica felt he did not fit into their plans his dream of playing top level soccer never died and he moved on to Sporting Farense, another 2nd Division club where he played for two more seasons.
Then it was on to Marinhense, another 2nd Division team, for two more years, after which Armando joined Olhanense of the 1st Division before moving on to Guimaraes, another 1st Division club and one of the more charismatic soccer powers in Portugal. After two years with Guimaraes Armando returned for one more year with Marinhense and played three more years before retiring. After retiring as a player he went on to coach the Marinhense youth teams.
In 1970 a new chapter in Armando Spencer’s soccer career began when he moved to the U.S. and immediately got back into coaching with the Bristol Sport Club, a LASA League power in Massachusetts and throughout the U.S. He moved to Newark in 1972 and continued his soccer career with Sport Newark-Benfica as coach.
A year later it was on to Newark’s Beira-Mar as coach, a position he held for three years. Then came a stint with the Sports Club Portuguese, the jewel of the Portuguese community in Newark, where he coached for two seasons.
Armando also coached all-star teams for the LISA League, which included several international matches. At the club level, Armando Spencer brought his senior team to several league championships. At the youth level he was coach and director of the first Youth Soccer Academy in Newark, which was based at the Ironbound Boys Club.
Armando Spence had definitely been a very important figure in the soccer history of Newark. His social conscience was vital for International relationships with the soccer programs in Newark.
Today Armando Spence remains a member of the Portuguese Association of Soccer Coaches and is a Life Member of the Portuguese National Soccer Federation.