Keith Binns, who played an integral role in establishing soccer on all levels in Madison, headlines this year's eight-member class of inductees for the Wisconsin Soccer Association Hall of Fame.
Binns will be inducted in the overall category at a ceremony Saturday, April 20 at Serb Hall in Milwaukee, recognizing his accomplishments as a player, coach and administrator.
Six of the other seven inductees are being honored for their playing careers: Milwaukee's John Becker, Tom Comiskey and Jesus Santos, Madison'sPatty (Wirth) Mesdjian, Racine's Mitch Nedeljkovic and Colgate's Adolf Wilke.
Greenfield's Stefano Carini will join the Hall of Fame in the referee category, while eight others will be presented Mertiorious Awards and one prominent Wisconsin soccer family will receive the Mike Kabanica Award.
Tickets for the 31st WSA Hall of Fame banquet cost $30 and can be ordered by contacting Dmitar "Mich" Jovic at firstname.lastname@example.org or 414-405-1951.
Here's a look at the Class of 2013:
A standout scorer for Bavarian SC and Milwaukee Madison High School, Becker was a WSA Youth All-Star for 10 years before playing at UW-Milwaukee from 1976 to '79 – he was a three-year starter and part of the Panthers' first NCAA tournament team in 1979. He played for the Milwaukee Brewers, Bavarian SC, Milwaukee Sport Club, Victoria FC and Mequon United in a career that spanned from 1978 to 2008, winning several Major League and Cup championships and being named to the Wisconsin All-Star Team at every position except goalkeeper. Becker also coached the first Brookfield Central High School team in 1980 and at Wauwatosa West, in addition to coaching the Sport Club Majors and First Division teams and the Women's Soccer Club Majors.
A native of Leeds, England, Binns moved to Madison in 1955 – and played for Bavarian SC, because there weren't any teams in the state capital. A year later, he was a founding member of Madison SC, which would later become the Madison 56ers. In 1974, Binns founded Madison United SC, which has the most extensive adult program in the city and has run the popular President's Cup indoor tournament for the past 20 years. He also was involved in the creation of the Madison Area Youth Soccer Association (1966) and the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association (1976), and coached the city's first prep girls soccer team at Madison Memorial in 1974. Additionally, Binns coached the Madison United Majors (1975 to '95) and Madison United Women (1981 to '90) and with the Yahara United SC from 1990 to '95, was a WSA Board member from 1987 to '92 and served as president of the WSA Capitol Region from 1987 to '93.
Following a successful playing career at Milwaukee St. John Cathedral High School, UW-Green Bay, Polonia SC and Verdi SC, Carini started officiating matches in 1989. As a U.S. Soccer Federation Level 5 referee, he oversaw many adult and youth matches in Region II in addition to WSA Majors, USISL, high school and college games. Carini was the referee administrator on the Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association Metro District Board for nearly a decade, served as the referee assignor for all state adult matches and developed referee units in the Delavan and Ozaukee areas and for the Milwaukee Catholic Soccer Youth leagues. He also was active in the Wisconsin Adult Soccer Soccer Association, being elected vice president and secretary, was a WSA Board member and coached youth teams at Croatian Eagles SC.
Comiskey won Wisconsin Independent Schools Athletic Association state titles at Milwaukee Marquette High School in 1981 and '82, then played at Marquette University from 1983 to '86 – he ranks third in program history with 38 goals. He then went on to play for the Milwaukee Kickers, Milwaukee Serbian SC and Polonia SC, making the Wisconsin All-Star Team from 1985 to '92 and being named to the North team for U.S. National Sports Festival in 1985 and 1996. As a coach, Comiskey worked with the Milwaukee Kickers and Tosa Kicks and has been with Bavarian SC since 2007.
When Mesdjian was a freshman at Middleton High School in 1981, there wasn't a girls soccer program, so she played on the boys team. She played for the Cardinals' girls team for its first three years, then starred at the University of Wisconsin from 1984 to '88 – Mesdjian was the captain in 1988, when the Badgers advanced to the NCAA semifinals. On the club side, she played for the Madison 56ers until 1991, then was with Madison United from 1993 to 2008. Mesdjian coached with the 56ers and Magic SC and was the girls coach at Madison West High School from 1988 to '94, winning WIAA state titles in 1988 and '91 and finishing second in 1992. She was named the WSCA Coach of the Year in 1991.
Nedeljkovic came to the U.S. from his native Serbia in the late 1960s and played for Racine SC and Milwaukee Serbian SC before playing at UW-Parkside in 1972 and '73. Following his career with the Rangers, he joined United Serbian SC and was named to the Wisconsin All-Star Team, then moved to the newly formed Racine Strikers in 1983. Nedeljkovic also was a referee for high school games from 1987 to 2000 and for WASA matches from 1988 to '95.
A native of Matamoros, Mexico, Santos played for the Milwaukee Brewers and then starred at Milwaukee South Division High School and played one season at UW-Milwaukee. Santos was offered a contract with the Milwaukee Wave, but turned it down to continue his academic pursuits – he has two bachelor's degrees and a master's degree. Instead, he played with the Club Latino Majors and Reserves and started the Azteca team, then returned to Club Latino.
Wilke was born in Wartegau, Germany, and moved to the U.S. when he was 15. Nicknamed "The Prince," he joined Milwaukee Sport Club in 1962 and was part of several Cup-winning sides and was a regular on the Wisconsin All-Star Team. Wilke also coached youth teams at Sport Club and has been a major contributor to the club on and off the field.
This year's Mertiorious Award honorees are Salvatore Carini, Mark Goodfellow, Mike Jones, John Krill, Jeffrey Santaga, Robert Sarsfield, Keith Wirtz and Kurt Zipp – the awards are given to individuals who have helped promote and develop WSA programs over a long period.
The Dombrowski family of West Allis, which includes five brothers who starred at UW-Milwaukee and went on to play professional soccer, will receive the Mike Kabanica Award.