Ilario “Larry” PrettoPlayer Category

    Larry was born in Hamilton in 1966, the son of Italian Immigrants Rose Perri Pretto and Federico Pretto. He came from good soccer pedigree as his father Federico “Fred” Pretto played with Inter Milan’s reserve squad.

    Larry’s soccer DNA runs much deeper as his mom is a Perri, sister of former local soccer legend and previous inductee Ardo Perri and Joe Perri also a noted goalkeeper with Hamilton Italo Canadians and a former Tiger Cat kicker. Larry’s brother Robert was a provincial and Canada Games team captain and a CSL player. Larry’s cousins Claudio Perri, Vince Perri, and Rick (Perri) Mancini all excelled in the game. Cousin Dino Perri is another inductee this year.

    Larry’s prolific scoring touch surfaced early with Saltfleet where he played until the rep level of 15. He attended Cardinal Newman and under coaches Mark Kovacs and Carm Dalia won an OFSAA gold and made the U-15 Hamilton Wentworth regional team coached by the late hall of famer “Frank Donlavey”. After stints with FF Binbrook and Hamilton Nationals he was selected to Tony Taylor’s Ontario U-16 and U18 Provincial Team in 1982 and 1983, winning both National Championships by scoring and setting up key goals.

    In 1984 Larry signed his first amateur contract with the Toronto Blizzard along with teammates Lino Tomassetti, John DiPasquale and Lucio Ianero. He joined the U-20 Canadian National Team, coached by Tony Taylor and Bob Bearpark, and in 1985 qualified for Youth World Cup where Canada was grouped with Nigeria, Australia and the host country of Russia.

    In 1985 he accepted a full scholarship to EIU (Eastern Illinois University) making the “All Midwest Conference Team”, AMCU Player of the Year, and 2nd team All American in his rookie year.

    Larry returned to Canada in 1986 winning the amateur National Championship with the Hamilton Steelers, assisting in the winning goal. The Following two seasons were spent with the Steelers in the CSL winning the League and were Cup finalists against Calgary Kickers and Vancouver 86ers. His professional career ended with Toronto Blizzard and London Lazers.

    Larry volunteered his time running many youth soccer skills and camps throughout Ontario and Illinois. A certified B License coach, Larry has coached Saltfleet and is still coaching in Grimsby where he resides.

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