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Fallbrook's Toth to participate in 'Haiti Relief Night'

As part of the San Diego Sockers’ “Haiti Relief Night” Feb. 26, former Sockers goalkeeper and current Fallbrook resident Zoltan Toth will be part of a soccer/tennis exhibition at halftime.

Toth and Juli Veee will comprise a soccer/tennis doubles team, and fans will have the opportunity to be challengers to Toth and Veee in the short two-on-two games.

“We like to do something for the fans,” Toth said. “I’m looking forward to playing.”

The game of soccer/tennis involves kicking a soccer ball into the opponents’ side of the court. The scoring format of games up to 21 points and a change of sides every five points replicate table tennis rather than racquet tennis. “It’s very easy to play,” Toth said.

The fact that Toth is now 54 years old and Veee celebrated his 60th birthday four days before the game isn’t deterring the former Sockers. “We have confidence to play anybody,” Toth said.

Veee and Toth were both with the Sockers in the 1980s. The game was popular among players during that era, when the Sockers played in the Major Indoor Soccer League. “They really liked to play soccer/tennis,” Toth said.

At one time during that period the team practiced at Folsom Tennis Club in the North Park area of San Diego. Although soccer/tennis was not part of coach Ron Newman’s official practice sessions, the game’s requirement to return the ball over the net with just one touch and after no more than one bounce can be conducive to improving soccer skills. “That’s a good way to bring up the kids,” Toth said. “It’s a very good sport, excellent for skills.”

The Sockers of the 1980s also included Jacques Ladouceur, who was born in Haiti and now lives in Murrieta. Ladouceur and his Haitian-born wife, Marie-Claire, have relatives in Haiti who lost their homes in January’s earthquake. Ladouceur worked with the Sockers on a Haitian relief effort, and the Sockers have agreed to donate a portion of ticket sales from their Feb. 26 game at the Del Mar Arena to the Haiti Endowment Fund.

After the earthquake, Cha Cha Namdar, who also played for the Sockers in the 1980s and now lives in the Scripps Ranch area of San Diego, suggested an old-timers game to help fund Haitian relief efforts. Although an actual old-timers game would have been too much of an undertaking to have taken place in the 2009-10 season, Toth and Veee were willing to participate in the soccer/tennis halftime show.

“Jacques was very fast and a very good-moving forward,” Toth said of Ladouceur. “He was one of the best shooters.”

(Haitian Manu Sanon also played for the Sockers, but Sanon passed away of prostate cancer in 2008. Sanon had been living in Florida, and his body was returned to Haiti for the funeral. Toth and Veee were both born in Hungary.)

Toth is currently the goalkeepers coach for the Fallbrook Fury. His son Zachary played soccer at Fallbrook High School, Cal State Bakersfield, and Cal State San Marcos and is currently studying to become a firefighter and paramedic. His son Chris was a goalie at Fallbrook High School and is now a goalie for the Fusion, the developmental team of the San Diego Sockers.

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