Mike Palivoda can trace his soccer career back to the days when he first learned the beauty of the game in his native Yugoslavia.
There he eventually went on to play at the Third Division pro level and later moved to France to play for Rodez FK for three seasons.
One he arrived in the U.S. Mike began playing and coaching for Newark Ukrainian Sitch, enjoying 15 fine seasons with the team at the semi-pro and professional level. During that period he helped the team win numerous league championships, Stat Cup titles and twice helped the Newark team reach the Eastern quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Cup.
As a player for the Ukrainians Mike played international matches against 10-time Polish champion Ruch-Chorzow, as well as Legia of Warsaw, England Amateur Cup finalist Skelmersdale United and German professional side Armenia Bielefeld.
All the while Mike was becoming active in the women’s game, holding the first clinic in his hometown of Hillside. For over 25 years he has worked to educate children from 6 to 15 about the world’s greatest game.
He has taught soccer to children in Newark for 10 years at St. John the Baptist Church. He has also worked to instruct recreation coaches who did not get the opportunity to play at the top levels as he did.
Mike organized the Hillside women’s soccer club, which won seven league championships, seven State Cup titles and reached the quarterfinals of the National Cup twice. Under his leadership the Hillside women also hosted several international matches, defeating a touring German team, 4-0, and playing to a 1-1 tie with a team from Holland.
For five years Mike also was head coach of the New Jersey Women’s Select Team, and after a car accident sidelined him for several years he has returned to the soccer field to teach all the lessons he learned on the pitch to a new generation of soccer players in the Garden State.