Sussex County News

Family, Friends and Fall Weather Come Together for Manny Reis Sparta High School Soccer Field Dedication Ceremony

Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Reis Family Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Dedication Plaque Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Artifacts presented to the Reis Family by Interim Athletic Director Steve Stoner Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Manny Reis was an active member of Sparta Kiwanis Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks
Credits: Jennifer Dericks

SPARTA, NJ – It was a big day for soccer at Sparta High School on Saturday morning as lower Veteran’s field was dedicated to former teacher and coach Manuel “Manny” Reis.  In front of more than 40 family members, the girls and boys varsity soccer teams, community members and Sparta school district administrators, interim Athletic Director Steve Stoner hosted the dedication ceremony. 

Reis had been hired as a Spanish teacher when the high school first opened.  One year later he became the high school coach. 

Several speakers took turns at the podium speaking about their experiences with Reis.  Stoner introduced Sparta High School Principal Janet Ferraro.  Ferraro began by expressing her feelings of being “impressed, happy and humbled to be addressing the large crowd.”  She was a “JV coach and young teacher and he was winding down his career as a fantastic teacher and great coach,” when their paths crossed.

Sign Up for E-News

“He taught me to think about the game of soccer like a student,” Ferraro said. 

All of the speakers agreed Reis remained a presence even after retirement and Reis “brought soccer to the map in Sparta and north west Jersey.”

Teacher and coach Michael Willie began speaking about Reis, his former coach and Spanish teacher.  “I didn’t always see him as kind,” Willie quipped.  “He was known as the Portuguese Pitbull.”  Willie shared memories of time in Ries’s classroom where after they “learned their Spanish lesson” he would talk to about soccer, having moved in to the role as “consultant coach.”

“He was tough on you but he was a good man, a good Christian,” said Willie.  “He pushed Christian values of kindness.”

English teacher and soccer coach Andrew Lowery addressed the crowd.  “When the field was first built Manny was at the board of education meeting complaining about the way it was built so there is irony,” in the same field being dedicated to him.  “I hope he is not mad at us.”

Lowery referred to the “three men on the hill, Mr Cunningham and Mr Olsen and Manny, the three amigos, who would  come to every game. “

Finishing his tribute, Lowery took a cap from beneath the podium.  “It is fitting to christen the field with one more hat throw, ‘He was not off-sides’,” Lowery said, slamming the hat to the ground, a move that got a big laugh from the crowd. 

Reis’s eldest daughter Dr Maria Elena Kitchell spoke about her father.  “Those who knew him, loved him,” she began.  Kitchell talked about her father’s dream to come [back] to America.  She explained that he joined the US Navy in World War II, worked in construction while he put himself through night school.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall and his master’s from Rutgers University. 

“He dreamed of moving our family from Newark.”  They moved to Sparta and he got a job teaching Spanish in the new Sparta High School.  “He dreamed of having a soccer team.”  Kitchell explained the first Sparta soccer field was in Ogdensburg. 

Kitchell said “dinner time was important to our family.  It was either joyful or quiet, depending on how the game went that day.  Thankfully there were almost 200 joyful dinners and only 73 quiet ones.”

Kitchell closed saying “he served the lord, his family and his country with a life well lived.”

Reis was born in Massachusetts but received his education and learned to play soccer in Portugal. 

Stoner outlined the highlights of Reis’s career as a soccer coach:

  • Won Skyline Conference 1969 to 1971, 1973 and 1976
  • Won Sussex County Championship in 1977, 1979 and 1980
  • Won Group 2, Section 1 State Championship 1977
  • Went 19-1 in 1977
  • Voted Coach of the Year 1973 and 1977
  • Compiled a career record of 194-72-29 at Sparta High School

Stoner and Ferraro handed out plaques that were replicas of the larger monument that will be installed at the field, enumerating his accomplishments. Stoner also announced that Reis would be the first person nominated to the newly formed Sparta Hall of Fame.  The hall of fame committee anticipates inducting the first members in November 2017.  The non-profit initiative is seeking both nominations and donations.  Donations can be made online as well.

In addition to the Reis’s daughters, Michelle Kretshiner and Aurora Mattie, wife Aurora Reis, friends Cunningham and Olsen, many of Manny’s grandchildren and approximately 40 family and friends were on the field. The high school was also represented by Vice Principal Rory Fitzgerald, Guidance Counselor and coach Tim Librizzi, Athletic Trainer and physical education teacher Shanna Behrje, Softball Coach Rick Poots,   Superintendent Dennis Tobin and board of education members Melva Cummings, Kelly McEvoy and President Karen Scott were also there. 

As the girls and boys varsity soccer players looked on Kitchell said, “May Manny’s love for soccer be an example for dreaming, hard work and dedication for all who play on this field.” 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police: License Plate Trouble Uncovers Suspended License and Warrant

April 11, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A man driving a truck without a license plate was arrested for having an outstanding $2500 warrant.  On February 42 around 8 a.m. Cpl. Craig Grauerholz stopped Elioesal Gomez driving gray Ford pulling a trailer driven, police report.

The 25-year-old Salem resident was taken into custody when the warrant from Plesgrove was discovered.  Gomez’s license had been ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, April 29, 3:30 PM

Codey Arena, West Orange

Girls Try Hockey Free Clinic


Fri, May 4, 7:00 PM

Sparta Evangelical Free Church, Sparta

Veritas Christian Academy presents The Music Man

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, May 6, 7:00 AM

Liberty State Park, Jersey City

11th Annual Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for ...

Health & Wellness

Sun, May 13, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River


The Issue of Alternatives to Elected School Boards

April 14, 2018

The time of electing local school boards should come to an end. According to the National School Boards Association, “the local school board is a critical public link to public schools. Whether elected or appointed, school board members serve their communities in several important ways. First and foremost, school boards look out for students. Education is not a line item on the school ...

Home Buying Myths Slayed

Team Nest Builder wants YOU to know the truths about buying a New Jersey home!

Some Highlights:

The average down payment for first-time homebuyers is only 6%!

Despite mortgage interest rates being over 4%, rates are still below historic numbers.

88% of property managers raised their rents in the last 12 months!

The credit score requirements for mortgage ...

Buy A Home To Build Your Family's Wealth

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate, on average, by 3.6% per year and to grow by 18.2% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey. Team Nest Builder wants you to understand what that means for homeowners and their equity positions.

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home ...

Now’s the Time to Buy Your NJ Luxury Home

House no longer fits your needs? Planning on buying a New Jersey luxury home? Now is the time to do so!

Recently, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing released its Luxury Market Report which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.  The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds the number of people searching to purchase these ...

Buy a Home NOW Before Mortgage Rates Climb Higher

Whether you’re a buyer searching for your first home, or a homeowner looking to move up to your next home, Team Nest Builder knows you should pay attention to where mortgage interest rates are heading.

Over the course of 2018, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates increased from 3.95% in the first week of January to 4.40% in the first week of April.

At ...

6 Simple Decorating Tricks for Your NJ Home

Ever watched “Trading Spaces” and wondered, “How do they pull together a beautiful room so quickly?”  Team Nest Builder knows! Read on for these 6 simple decorating tricks from the newly relaunched “Trading Spaces” stars.  You’ll be amazed at what a difference they make in your New Jersey home!

Let Your Heart Choose Your Art

Laurie Smith ...

Clean Your Closet and Help Sussex County Children By Donating Shoes

You know those shoes in the back of your closet that scream.”I grew up watching “Friends”’? Team Nest Builder wants to help YOU get rid of them while doing good for Sussex County children, through the Sojihuggles Children’s Foundation.

Now through May 15th, donate your gently worn, used or new shoes to help underprivileged children in Sussex County while ...

Want to avoid gaining weight? Don’t diet!

Researchers aiming to identify lifestyle factors related to weight management followed more than 4,500 young adults (average age 24) for ten years. At the end of the study period, 77% of the men and 72% of the women had gained weight. The lifestyle factors associated with no weight gain among the remaining 23% of the men and 28% of women were regular eating patterns (not skipping meals) and no ...

Free Family Expo Offers Resources and Fun Activities

April 20, 2018

Northern New Jersey parents and children are invited to Project Self-Sufficiency’s annual Family Expo, Thursday, April 26th, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.  Workshops for parents will be supplemented by children’s activities, dinner, gift card raffles and other events.  The Family Expo is sponsored by the Sussex County Family Success Center at Project Self-Sufficiency and Project ...