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Falcons set to induct new class to soccer hall of fame

Joe Stock will be inducted into the North Catholic Soccer Hall of Fame on Sunday. CONTRIBUTED

The start of spring might be the best time of the year for sports fans.

You have the NCAA basketball tournament, the start of baseball season, the NFL draft, and it’s when the playoff hunt in both the NBA and NHL really starts to heat up.

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But if you’re a Philly soccer fan, especially if you’re from “the neighborhood,” the highlight of the spring season is when top-notch soccer players are inducted into the North Catholic Soccer Hall of Fame.

“It is an exceptional class, and what I like is that it spans almost 50 years of players,” said former North coach Jerry Brindisi. “You have guys from 1961 and guys from almost the last season, it’s a great cross section of North Catholic soccer. Everyone will be really excited to see them go in.”

Now in its 12th year, the Falcons have enshrined many great players into the school’s hall of fame. And because North traditionally was among the elite high school soccer teams for most of its life, the Falcons are still inducting some of the best players to ever grace a pitch in the city.

It’s also a day when the entire North Catholic soccer community gets together to share stories about the past, present and the future of soccer while catching up with great friends.

“It’s a great day, everyone gets dressed up nicely, a lot of suits and ties, and it’s a lot of stories,” Brindisi said. “It’s a great day every year.”

On Sunday at Romano’s Caterers, 1523 E. Wingohocking St., the Class of 2019 will be inducted and any coach would be happy to take this group of guys into battle.

Here is a look at this year’s class:

Charles Soley

This 1961 graduate wasted little time getting onto the varsity squad. He became a starter as a sophomore and he helped the Falcons win Catholic League championships in each of his three years on the team, playing under the Rev. Dan McLernan.

During his senior campaign, which saw him score the winning goal in the city championship against Olney, he was first-team All Scholastic.

He played college soccer at St. Joseph’s College and later played professionally for the Chicago Kickers.

John Wurtenberg

After playing junior varsity as a freshman, this 1979 graduate spent three years on the varsity team and he led the Falcons to a lot of good times. The Falcons won back-to-back Catholic League championships during his final two years, and also picked up two city championships during that time.

His best season was his final year, where he earned first-team All-Catholic honors.

Chris Hess

Soccer was a huge part of this 1983 graduate’s life, as he starred during his days at North and at many other levels.

A member of the F Bayern Club team, he later went on to coach youth soccer at FC Bayern. But his greatest accomplishments came during his days at North.

A captain during his final year, Hess was a first-team All-Catholic selection in 1981 and 1982, and was also a member of the All-Scholastic Team and the Old Timers team.

Joe Stock

When it came to scoring goals, there were few better than this 1993 graduate. A captain during his senior season, Stock was the leading scorer on his squad, and also led the league in scoring.

He was an All-City, All-Scholastic and All-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection during his senior year.

After he left North, he continued to pile up wins. During his freshman year at St. Joseph’s University, he was a part of a Philadelphia Soccer 7 championship. He also helped the Hawks make back-to-back Atlantic 10 championships.

Tom Kalpokas

One of the younger players to make the elite group, this 2008 graduate has been starring on the pitch his entire life. He got his start playing for Fishtown AC in 1996 before moving on to play for the Lower Merion Hammerheads and FC Delco, where in seven years, he helped the team with six state championships, five regional championships and four national appearances that led to two second-place finishes and two third-places finishes.

At North, he played varsity all four years, starting every game from sophomore year on. He was a three-time All-Catholic selection and made first-team All-State as a senior when he scored 33 goals and assisted on 13 others.

He caught fire right away at La Salle, making the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team when he led the Explorers in goals, points and shots on goal.

He had another great season during his sophomore campaign before missing three years with an injury.

In 2013, he wrapped up his career by starting all 21 games and serving as a team captain. That year, the Explorers started 9-2 and ended with a loss to St. Louis in a conference semifinal.

The Falcons will also hand out other awards during the afternoon.

The late Tom Turner, who coached at La Salle and St. Joseph’s, will receive the North Catholic Service Award. During his time coaching college, many North grads played under him. His wife, Michelle, will accept the award

And Frankford grad Woody Hartman and Ryan alum Matt Knowles will be added to the “All Nemesis Team.”

For tickets to the event, contact Jerry Brindisi at 215-906-8496.

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