Tino Lettieri

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Tino Lettieri
Personal information
Full name Martino Lettieri
Date of birth (1957-09-27) 27 September 1957 (age 66)
Place of birth Bari, Italy
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Senior career*
1976 Montreal Castors
1977–1981 Minnesota Kicks 88 (0)
1980–1981 Minnesota Kicks (indoor) 14 (0)
1982–1983 Vancouver Whitecaps 55 (0)
1984 Vancouver Whitecaps (indoor) 13 (0)
1984 Minnesota Strikers 18 (0)
1984–1987 Minnesota Strikers (indoor) 121 (0)
1987 Hamilton Steelers 9 (0)
International career
1980–1986 Canada 24 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Martino "Tino" Lettieri (born 27 September 1957) is a former NASL and MISL professional soccer goalkeeper, who represented Canada twice at the Summer Olympics: 1976 and 1984 and at the 1986 FIFA World Cup.


Club career

Lettieri began his pro career with the Montreal Castors in the National Soccer League in 1976. [1] In 1977, he played with the Minnesota Kicks in the North American Soccer League and played there until 1981. He went on to play the Vancouver Whitecaps in 1982 and 1983 and the Minnesota Strikers in 1984. He was named NASL North American Player of the Year in 1983 [2] and had the league's best Goals Against Average in both 1982 and 1983. [3] [4]

Lettieri was a regular in the original MISL.[ citation needed ] He continued to play for the Strikers as the team joined the indoor league, playing the 1984–85 season through to 1987–88.[ citation needed ] Lettieri was voted Goalkeeper of the Year for the 1986–87 season.[ citation needed ]. Lettieri led the Strikers to a runner-up finish in the MISL playoffs during the 1985-86 season, as the team fell 4-3 in the championship round to the San Diego Sockers. Two years later, the Strikers won the Eastern Division.

Lettieri finished his outdoor career in 1987 with the Hamilton Steelers in Canadian Soccer League. [5] He was elected to the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2001.[ citation needed ]

Lettieri is often remembered for his keeping a stuffed parrot in the back of his net during games. [6] [7] The bird was named "Ozzie". In 1985 the league banned Ozzie from the nets. [8]

International career

Lettieri made his full international debut for Canada on 17 September 1980 in a 3–0 victory over New Zealand in Edmonton. He earned 24 caps for Canada and was the first-choice goalkeeper from 1980 until 1986. In the 1986 World Cup, Lettieri played two of Canada's three matches, the latter of which, a 0–2 defeat to the Soviet Union in Irapuato, was his final international appearance. [9] In 2001, Lettieri was honored by the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame, and a year later was named a member of the Quebec Soccer Hall of Fame.[ citation needed ] He was named by Canada Soccer as one of the top 100 Canadian footballers of all time in 2012.[ citation needed ]

Personal life

Lettieri is married to Michelle Nanne, the daughter of Minnesota North Stars hockey player and general manager Lou Nanne. [10] He now runs a successful food products business, Tino's Cafe Pizzeria, in Shorewood, Minnesota. [11] His son, Vinni, played hockey for the University of Minnesota and signed with the New York Rangers in 2017. [12] [13]

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  1. "Castors feature international soccer stars". Ottawa Journal. 17 June 1976. p. 30.
  2. "NASL Honors Whitecap Goalie". The Palm Beach Post . 22 September 1983. p. D12.
  3. "The Year in American Soccer - 1982". Homepages.sover.net. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  4. "The Year in American Soccer - 1983". Homepages.sover.net. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  5. "Tino Lettieri soccer statistics on StatsCrew.com".
  6. Terry Bigham (17 April 1986). "Sidekicks Stay Alive, Overcome Strikers, 4-1". The Dallas Morning News .
  7. Franz Lidz (3 September 1984). "If Tino Lettieri is the NASL's best goalie, he owes it all". Sports Illustrated . Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  8. "STRIKERS GOALIE SQUAWKS OVER BENCHING OF MASCOT". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 10 November 2023.
  9. "Tino Lettieri". www.canadasoccer.com. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  10. Russo, Michael (14 February 2018). "From soccer to football to the NHL, Vinni Lettieri cut his..." The Athletic. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  11. "About Me". Tino's Cafe Pizzeria. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  12. "Vinni Lettieri". Gophersports.com. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  13. "Lettieri Inks Deal with Rangers". Gophersports.com. Retrieved 17 June 2021.