John Wolyniec is proud to be entering the Staten Island Hall of Fame.
Tony Quinn/MLS/

Wolyniec to be inducted in S.I. Hall of Fame

New York Red Bulls forward John Wolyniec will be inducted into the Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday.

The induction will take place in the gym at the CYO Recreation Center on the grounds of the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin in Pleasant Plains.

The Fordham graduate, who is in his third stint with New York, said he was honored by his selection.

"It wasn't a huge surprise," Wolyniec said. "I knew my name had been thrown around. I was a little surprised with the timing. I'm proud of it. It's nice. I'm really excited."

To be inducted while playing close to home was very important to Wolyniec, a player who has been on four other MLS teams.

"I guess they figured, he is home, we might as well do it now," he said. "Playing for the home team makes it more special."

Wolyniec was born and raised on Staten Island and graduated from Monsignor Farrell High School before heading to Fordham.

"It's home," he said. "I couldn't call any place else home."

Joining Wolyniec in the class of 2006 are high school football coach Al Paturzo, Negro League veteran Sonny Logan, NYU basketball legend Jim Signorile, track coach John Tobin and baseball and basketball star Jimmy Collins.

Prior to the inclusion of the Class of 2006, the Hall had 83 individuals and four teams since its inception in 1995.

After reading about some of the members, Wolyniec knew he was in impressive company, especially when he saw the name Bobby Thomson, who is most known for hitting a walk-off home run to win the 1951 National League Pennant.

"I read a lot of the bios and a lot of them were really impressive," Wolyniec said.

Wolyniec became the second soccer played inducted into the Hall, following Jack Hynes, who played for the U.S. national neam in the 1950s.

Wolyniec said he definitely did not expect an honor of this magnitude to happen to him at such a young age.

"I didn't foresee it happening," he said. "It was nice to be honored and to realize what I've been working for so long."

Don't expect a long speech from Wolyniec, who said he didn't prepare a one, just a list of people to thank.

"I'm kind of a 'wing it' type of guy. They told me to keep it short, which is good," he said.

Wolyniec joined the Red Bulls in August 2006 and scored three goals for New York. Throughout his seven-year MLS career, Wolyniec has scored 28 goals and tallied 12 assists.

At Fordham, he left as the team's all-time leading scorer with 75 goals. He was the 1998 Atlantic Ten Player of the Year.