Frangopoulos family deep in tradition
At least one member of the family has been part of six elite Mooney soccer teams.
By BILL SULLIVAN
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Prior to 2001, the Cardinal Mooney High School boys soccer team never played in a regional tournament.
Since then, the Cardinals have reached the regionals five times and made three trips to the state championship game.
This season, the Mooney girls soccer team reached the regional tournament for the first time in school history.
What's a common thread connecting those six elite teams? Each Cardinals squad had at least one of the Frangopoulos siblings in the starting lineup.
Dr. Michael Frangopoulos and his wife, Becky, have five children: Stellio (Mooney class of 2002) and Christo (CMHS, 2004) attend Ohio State while Nomiki, Alecko and Nicola are a Mooney senior, junior and freshman respectively.
All seven members of the family were on hand Tuesday when the Mooney boys defeated Kidron Central Christian 2-1 in a state semifinal game in Medina -- the eldest five in the stands cheering for Alecko and Nicola in uniform.
In state final
Friday, Mooney will be in the Division III state championship game for the third time in four seasons where Alecko will start at midfield and Nicola will be a defender.
The Cardinals (18-3-1) take on top-ranked Jamestown Greenview (22-0) at Crew Stadium at 3 p.m.
Although Dr. Frangopoulos did not play soccer as a youth, he saw the need for a local quality indoor facility and he helped to build one -- Valley Sports in Struthers.
"My wife and I started coaching in the Campbell League when they were little," Dr. Frangopoulos said of his children. "From there, the kids played on all the different travel teams in different areas.
"And then they started playing club ball in Cleveland and club ball in Youngstown," Dr. Frangopoulos said.
Mooney attracted Stellio for its academic reputation and at the same time the soccer renaissance was beginning.
"We thought Mooney would be the best school for education and since we liked soccer, they have a good program," Dr. Frangopoulos said. "And, since we've been there, fortunately they've developed."
As a senior, Stellio was a defender on the Mooney team that lost to Gates Mills Hawken in overtime in the school's first trip to the regionals.
"At a young age they wanted us to be involved in sports," Stellio said of his parents. "After they started us with this, we pretty much enjoyed it and kept with it ourselves."
He had no hard feeling that the class that followed his won the state crown.
"I was very proud of all those guys; they were my teammates for three years. No regrets," Stellio said.
Christo played for OSU
Christo played midfield on the 2002 state championship team. After earning all-Ohio honors as a senior at Mooney, he played for the Buckeyes for a season.
"I walked on my freshman year and I played for a year there," Christo said. "Now I'm just playing club ball."
Although he won a state championship as a junior, it was the state semifinal game that season -- played in an ocean of mud -- that will always stick out for Christo.
"The state semifinal game was the most thrilling, I think. We came back and won 2-1," Christo said. "It was a great feeling."
Nomiki started for two seasons and saw her Mooney team (16-3-1) ranked as high as fifth in Ohio this year.
Those Cardinals fell two goals behind Bay early and lost 2-1 in the regional semifinal. Bay reached the state tournament.
The bad news for the soccer staff at Mooney -- there's no more Frangopoulos children at home.