Late, great: Mobilio made his mark
by Carl Valentine
Sadly, soccer recently lost one of its own in Dominic Mobilio.
I first met Dominic on my arrival in Vancouver to play for the 86ers in 1987 - their first season. There were a lot of unfamiliar faces, Dominic's among them. But we were all there to play and everyone was keen to get the season started.
Our first game was against Edmonton at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby with almost a full house on hand. The game was evenly balanced when we were awarded a penalty. Before the game, Dominic was told he had to take the penalty. Now, Dom was a young 19-year-old playing his first professional game. He was not having the best of times.
So he asked if I would take the spot kick, which I did, and scored. We won the game 4-2. During our next game, again at home, there was again a penalty which I went to take. To my surprise, Dominic politely told me he would take it, which he did, and scored. Since that time, he went on to score many more from the spot - rarely missing.
To me, this was Dominic, quietly confident, but very unassuming. I was greatly impressed by his talent and desire. In fact, after playing a couple of seasons together, I recommended him to Kenny Cooper, my coach with the Baltimore Blast in the Indoor League. Kenny signed Dominic to an initial two-year contract, never having seen him play. He didn't regret his decision, as Dom went on to become their leading scorer for many seasons.
Many have often wondered why Dom didn't play for Canada more. My feeling is that he was one of the best strikers Canada has ever produced. Unfortunately, the style of play and the available players at that time were not in Dom's favour. Canada's play then was built on good organization, good defense, and delivering long balls behind the opposition's defence to speedy forwards. Dom's game would have been better suited to today's style where coaches choose from more possession-type players. This kind of game would be more to Dom's strength - playing the ball to his feet and creating chances for him in the box.
Another question often asked about Dom was whether he would have made it in Europe. There's no doubt in my mind that he could have played anywhere in Europe on his ability alone. But knowing him, that was not his greatest goal in life. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and Dom was as close to Vancouver as his family. If you know his family, you'll understand why.
I had the pleasure of living with Angela and Louie Petramala (Dom's aunt and uncle) for one 86er season. In that summer I got to know them along with Dom's parents - Joe and Marie Mobilio - and his brothers, Johnny and Tony. They were such a close family and Dom always looked forward to returning to the Vancouver 86ers in the summer to play. He also felt, like me, that it was important to keep a name and a face here to build coaching opportunities at the end of playing. This strategy served him well, judging by his productive, but too-short time with Coquitlam City. He was well into a great coaching career and giving back to many who supported him throughout his playing days. No, if Dom were to have left everything here to reach the goal of playing in Europe, it would had to have been an absolutely perfect situation.
Dom touched so many people both on and off the field in a positive way. He had a special way of making everyone feel comfortable around him. It's tragic that he has been taken away from us at such a young age, but I feel blessed that Dominic considered me his friend and I think we should do many things to keep his memory alive.
To Joe and Marie, you raised a quality human being in Dom, and we feel for you in your time of grief. He touched many lives including my own, and for that we thank you.