Nick Megaloudis is remembered in indoor soccer circles as a defender with the Houston Summit, New York Arrows, and Las Vegas Americans, playing from the inception of the Major Indoor Soccer League in 1978 until 1985 when an injury cut his playing career short at the age of 28.
The year before the injury his daughter Nicole was born. “Nicole was my second child and my daughter,” Nick says. “She was a blessing and a beautiful child. She grew up to be a wonderful young lady who was friends with so many people. She had a great personality and did not have a bad bone in her body.”
Nicole followed in her father’s soccer footsteps, receiving a soccer scholarship to play at Virginia Commonwealth University, and working toward a spot on the Greek team in the 2004 Athens Olympics. “She loved soccer from early on and was very committed to the game,” her father says.
She never got her chance at Olympic glory, however. Just months before the Games she died in a car accident at the age of 19.
Sixteen years later her legacy endures through the Nicole Megaloudis Foundation. “After Nicole passed away, my ex-wife Gail Rongen and I decided that we would continue to honor Nicole’s legacy,” Megaloudis said. “She wanted to help the children of Africa. Unfortunately it was too far away for us to monitor our foundation so we chose Haiti which was much closer for us to visit and monitor.”
“The best place to meet a Megaloudis is on a soccer field,” Nicole once said, and her namesake foundation has some big soccer names on its board including Bruce Arena, Bobby Convey, and Alecko Eskandarian.
“I have been involved in the game for over 40 years and I established many friends and people involved in the game at the highest level,” Nick says. “My ex-wife was married to (NASL and MISL player turned MLS and U-23 National Team coach) Thomas Rongen. Combined Gail and I have been involved in the game for so many years, we have managed to create so many friends of the game.”
In his indoor career, Nick Megaloudis played for three Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame coaches in Timo Liekoski, Kenny Cooper, and Don Popovic.
“I played both indoor and outdoor and played with some great teams and players,” Nick said. “I played on two championship teams in the MISL with the New York Arrows, played with a great Houston Summit team and finally with a really stacked Las Vegas Americans team.” He also played three seasons with the NASL’s Houston Hurricane. Prior to that he played with the U19 National Team and was in the pool of players for the Olympic team from 1977-80.
After his playing career he was the assistant coach for the Miami Fusion in MLS and worked for 10 years with his best friend Tom Mulroy at Soccer Marketing and Promotions, where he did grass roots marketing for events like the 1994 World Cup and the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games. As Director of Coaching for Pinecrest Premier Soccer Club, he built the organization into one of the biggest clubs in Florida. Currently, he is coaching the girls program at Manhattan Soccer Club in New York City. Last year, Megaloudis attended the MISL 40th Anniversary Reunion in Las Vegas.
In September, Nick held a birthday fundraiser on Facebook and raised over $5,700 for the foundation, which has awarded over $190,000 in partial scholarships, in addition to projects funded in Haiti. “We are so proud of The Nicole Megaloudis Foundation,” he says. “Since we started the foundation in 2004, we have proudly distributed thousands and thousands of dollars to student athletes who were in need of financial assistance. For 16 years recipients have been very honored and thankful for the assistance they received from the foundation. We are also working with former national team member Tony Sanneh and his foundation in Haiti. We have teamed up with his organization and are now involved in helping put girls soccer programs together and helping with contributions to schools in Haiti. Through our partnership, we have been able to form girls teams from Haiti and given them the opportunity to visit and play in the US. I know how happy this would have made Nicole.”
Nicole Megaloudis Foundation 501(c)(3)
Donate today: https://www.remembernicole.org/donate