The rejuvenated New York Cosmos Soccer Team plans to honor World War II and Korean War veterans and first responders at its game at Hofstra University's Shuart Stadium Saturday against Minnesota United.
Top among the honorees will be Army veteran Harold Dinzes, a Manhattan native who now lives in Passaic, N.J.
"I got a bunch of medals, including the Bronze Star," said Dinzes, a combat engineer in the South Pacific during World War II and, later, during the Korean War. "But just that I came home was enough for me."
He served four years in World War II and three during the Korean War. "I was called up from the reserves but ended up in France where I did pretty much the same work without the guns going off," he said.
Dinzes, who will be 97 in December, was in his last semester as a history major at Montclair State University when his wife and son became sick this year and he had to drop out, he said. "It was fun, though," he added.
He had worked at his father's plumbing supply business until about 15 years ago, when the giant hardware stores put him out of business, he said. Since then, he said, he has held a variety of jobs, most recently with one of the big book stores.
Back in the 1970s, he was a Cosmos season ticket holder, he said. "I saw Pele play, and I'm glad the team is back. But I've been to Hofstra only once before in my life."
Erik Stover, the Cosmos chief operating officer, said: "We are honored to help celebrate and recognize, in some small way, the thousands of heroes who have fought and risked their lives for our country."
He added that people can donate tickets for veterans to attend the 7 p.m. game by going to the Cosmos website: www.nycosmos.com.