Soccer festival remembers late Rockville Centre coach Trish Meindl


Soccer teams from around the South Shore came to compete in a soccer festival last Saturday held in memory of Trish Meindl, a longtime Rockville Centre resident who died from breast cancer in January.

Meindl began playing soccer as a young child in Massapequa and continued the sport while at Farmingdale High School and Marist College. Her husband, Bob, recalled meeting Trish through soccer at Marist.

“The goal was to memorialize her through soccer,” he said, adding that the event also served as the initial fundraiser for the $1,500 Trish Meindl Scholarship at South Side High School, which was given this year for the first time to a female soccer player who showed leadership and sportsmanship.

The Aug. 11 event featured eight under-13 girls’ soccer teams, including the Rockville Centre Velocity, which Trish served as an assistant coach for until she died. In addition to two other Rockville Centre teams, the Legacy and the Chili Peppers, squads came from Farmingdale, New Hyde Park, Lynbrook, East Rockaway and Hewlett. Playing through some rain in the afternoon, the girls survived the showers, Bob said, and the last game finished at 9:30 p.m.

Families and businesses from Rockville Centre and Massapequa donated raffle baskets, a penalty kick contest entertained younger children and a disc jockey played music all day.

Michelle Barthel, a friend of Trish’s who helped organize the festival, said that before coaching the Velocity, Trish was an intramural coach for several years and coached her daughter when she was in first grade. Kind and compassionate on the sidelines, “she was also a competitor and expected everybody to give their best every time they took the field,” Barthel recalled.

“The day was just a perfect reflection of all of the kindness and goodness Trish gave to the world while she was here,” she added.

Though Bob noted it was an emotional day for he and his three children, who Trish coached at one time or another, he called the day a great celebration of his wife. “It was a tremendous honor,” he said, “and it really was amazing to see people come out and show their love and support for an incredible person.”