MARIO DE PAOLA
For the past 45 years Mario De Paola has been active in soccer in the United states at every level of the game.
Hi career dates back to his days as a player in high school and club ball. After a combat injury in Vietnam ended his playing career, he continued to stay active in soccer and formed the soccer club Vallata International.
It was then that he became involved with the Italian American Soccer League of New Jersey where he eventually served as First Vice President and later President.
About that time he became actively involved in the N.J. State Soccer Association where he began serving as Vice President and as a member of numerous committees including finance and appeals.
His involvement led me to USASA Region I where he recently completed almost two decades of service as Deputy Director.
A graduate West Side High School in Newark, he played winger for the school’s soccer team. During that time he also played club soccer for the Newark Italians of the Schaeffer League as well as Newark Ukranians of the American League.
Mario served in the U.S. Navy including one tour of duty in Vietnam while attached to the Fleet Marine Force. During this tour of duty he was wounded in combat and returned to the U.S.
After leaving the Navy with an injury that ended his playing career he formed the Vallata International which played in the Italian American League, winning numerous league and cup championships. The team was home to several “all-star” players including center forward Miguel Reyna the father of U.S. National Team Captain Claudio Reyna.
Mario served as Vice President of the NJSSA, and apart from his duties as Vice President, he served on various committees including Finance, Appeals, and Referee Committee. During his tenure as Vice President and member of various committees he played an active role in increasing membership in the state association, as well as increasing its financial position.
Among the more enjoyable aspects of his activities with the state association was a role as liaison with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League. When his term ended in 1993 he was made a Life Member in Voting Power in the NJSSA.
Mario served as President of the Italian-American Soccer League of New Jersey, and in 1981 started his tenure as Deputy Director of USASA Region I. For the next 19 years he served in that capacity with the exception of one year (1983-84) when he filled the vacancy of Regional Director and member of the National Board of Directors of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
After growing up as a teenager in Italy he immigrated to the United States in 1957 and settled in New Jersey. In 1970 he married his wife Maria, and they raised four children – Corinna, Nunzio, Luciana and Maria, and have two grandchildren Gianna and Mario. The De Paolas live in Colonia.