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Assistant soccer coach helps Philadelphia Kixx claim national title

The Philadelphia Kixx won the Men’s Indoor Soccer League National Championship this past spring, breaking the fabled Curse of William Penn, which has haunted many other Philadelphia teams for years.

What connection do the Kixx have to Eastern? Unknown to most of the campus, one of their stars walks among us every day.

Andy Guastaferro, a graduate student and one of the men’s soccer coaches here at Eastern, was a major piece of the puzzle that helped the Kixx win the 2006-2007 MISL National Championship title. Guastaferro was a third round pick in the MISL expansion draft and has played for the Kixx for three years.

The Kixx went into the 2006-2007 season with high hopes. However, no season is without adversity, and the team had its share of struggles along the way.

“There were points in the season where players would get into fights with each other, even during the game,” Guastaferro said. “We had a lot of talent, but I questioned whether or not we would be able to come together to win the national championship.”

However, with the help of peacemaker and player-coach Donnie D’Ambra, and with some success on the turf, the Kixx got back on track to eventually win the MISL title.

“The mentality of the Philadelphia Kixx, in every season that I’ve been there, has been to win a national championship,” Guastaferro said. “This year in particular, the Kixx brought in big name players, such as Gino Martinez, in hopes of winning a national title.”

Fans, the front office, the coaching staff and the players all knew this past season held promise.

“If we were going to win, this would be the year,” Guastaferro said.

There is no doubt that winning a title that seemed out of reach at times gave the championship an even sweeter taste. However, for Guastaferro, this year would be etched in his mind forever for other reasons as well.

“Going into the championship game, I knew I would be retiring,” Guastaferro said. “To end my career by winning the national championship game is a blessing. It wasn’t necessary to in order for my career to be a success, but it definitely added icing on the cake.”

As Guastaferro turns to a life beyond the MISL, he hopes to take skills such as leadership, loyalty and perseverance with him and apply them to his graduate school degree. Guastaferro’s life long goal is to work toward alleviating poverty in undeveloped countries and to teach young college athletes how to play soccer hard and follow Christ more passionately.

“I can help bring the [men’s soccer team] a mentality and sense of leadership, and the know-how as to what it actually takes to win in the big games,” Guastaferro said. “The men’s soccer team has much to gain through what I’ve learned as a professional soccer player and what it means to be a Christian athlete.”

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