Published on December 16th, 2018 | by Staples Soccer0
60th Anniversary Flashback: Dee Tashian ’60 Remembers
As part of this year’s Staples soccer 60th anniversary celebration, Fred Cantor ’71 interviewed Dee Tashian, who was there when the program began. Fred writes:
Dee Tashian ‘60 was part of a special class: the first in school history to have soccer all 3 years. As a sophomore, Dee played on coach Albie Loeffler’s 1957 club team that got the ball rolling for Staples soccer. As a junior and senior he played on Staples’ first 2 varsity soccer squads.
Dee was one of the leading scorers, and was named First Team All-Conference his senior year (1959). That Wrecker team enjoyed great success. They were undefeated in the regular season, and earned the #1 seed in the state tournament before being eliminated by Glastonbury.
It was a different era for sure. Dee, like some of his teammates, had never played soccer before high school. The closest thing he had ever participated in was “kickball in gym.”
Why did Dee decide to try out for the soccer team? “I was always a sports guy,” he says. “I loved basketball and baseball.” (And he played them well: Dee was a varsity athlete in those 2 sports at Staples too.)
He notes that the soccer team attracted the interest of athletes who played other varsity sports at Staples. Loeffler also coached basketball and baseball at Staples at the time, so that was probably a factor.
Even though he had not played soccer before high school, Dee says that he “took to it quickly. I was a runner. And I was pretty fast.”
He ended up as a top scorer, but modestly recalls that “there weren’t any shots like you see today. I was in the right place at the right time.”
Dee thinks the formation back then helped too. There were 5 forwards. Dee typically played either center forward. or left inside or right inside.
Of his teammates, one had extensive experience before that first club team in 1957: legendary Norwegian foreign exchange student Per Haarr. The multi-talented athlete represented his country in the decathlon at the European track and field championships. “Per was on a different level in terms of his skill. He brought a unique value to the team,” Dee says.
The soccer team played at the North Avenue field — now named for Loeffler — for the first time in 1959. Dee calls it “superior” to the former Riverside Avenue field (behind the old Staples High School, now Saugatuck Elementary School). He loved the new school, which felt like “a college campus.” But there “definitely were not big crowds” in those first years.
Dee’s experiences under Coach Loeffler enabled him to continue playing at Nichols College. So he was in at the start of another Staples soccer tradition too: Dee was co-captain of his college squad his senior year.
(Dee Tashian spent many years with Citibank in New York, as a vice president in the consumer banking division. He now lives in Sarasota, Florida. He plays in a senior tennis league, and is an active volunteer.)