2012 US Youth Soccer Recreation Coach of the Year regional award winners announced
US Youth Soccer announced the regional winners of the 2012 US Youth Soccer Boys and Girls Recreation Coach of the Year awards. The Recreation Coach of the Year is awarded to a recreation coach for both a boys team and a girls team for his or her coaching activities, sportsmanship, player development, personal coaching development and citizenship.
The national Boys and Girls Recreation Coach of the Year will be announced at the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala on Friday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m., as part of the US Youth Soccer Workshop at the NSCAA Convention in Indianapolis.
Region I – Camile Louis – Fairfax, Va.
In her first season coaching, Camile Louis began addressing her players as gentlemen. Through her 12 years of teaching integrity, her players have earned that title and truly act like young gentlemen. Louis began coaching as a volunteer with no prior soccer experience, but she has pushed herself to learn and lead by example for her players. She earned a USSF “E” License and even began playing in an adult league.
Region II – Pete Gustin – Olathe, Kan.
Pete Gustin doesn’t restrict compliments to just his team. He encourages his players to congratulate opponents and is known to call out “good save” to the opposing goalie. He is positive and encouraging when teaching his players about the game. Although his youngest kid is now in high school, Gustin continues to coach young children as a favor to neighbors who asked him to impart his knowledge of the game on a new generation.
Region III – Thomas Velek – Columbus, Miss.
Ensuring each of his players improve is the main goal for Thomas Velek. He encourages higher levels of competition but will not leave any player behind. Velek has started a summer pick-up game program, coordinated two USSF “D” License courses in Columbus and initiated and directed the Columbus TOPSoccer program. While constantly promoting the game, he makes sure to stress sportsmanship and respectful behavior to players, coaches and parents.
Region IV – Mark Paige – Santa Fe, N.M.
Each player will get an equal chance to play and improve under Mark Paige. He has coached several recreational teams at varying age levels and always promotes appreciation for the game and all involved. He revived U-14 recreational teams to give middle school-aged children the option to continue playing at their own desire. Paige holds several coaching certificates and licenses, including a State “D” License and has continued to take courses to further his coaching knowledge.
Girls Recreation Coach of the Year regional award winners:
Region I – Chris Thomas – Lawrenceville, N.J.
Chris Thomas emphasizes that soccer should be fun and does his best to work with individual players to increase their enjoyment. He manages to find a way to get each player touches on the ball, despite a wide range of skill levels in recreational play, which allows everyone a chance to improve. Thomas holds a “C” License and runs training sessions each week for players and coaches, in addition to his current efforts to obtain indoor space for recreational players to train.
Region II – Jeff Taylor – Bowling Green, Ky.
In the Fall of 1979, 8-year-old Jeff Taylor and his family were at the forefront of starting youth soccer in Bowling Green, Ky. Now 41, Taylor is still involved in the local soccer scene as a dedicated coach of his daughters’ teams for the last six years. Since his first days of coaching recreational soccer while in high school up until present day, Taylor has provided a positive, out-going attitude for his players to look up to.
Region III – Atef Iskander – Tulsa, Okla.
Atef Iskander is currently the coach of the Under-16 girls recreational team at Metro Tulsa Soccer Club. His competitive nature balanced with a high level of respect for all opponents has made Iskander a great influence on his players. He provides his team with quality leadership and asks for his players to approach the game with the same level of respect as he shows.
Region IV – Rob Rittmeyer – Santa Fe, N.M.
A wide range of children get the opportunity to enjoy playing soccer under Rob Rittmeyer. Outside of his many talents for creating a caring and fun environment for his players, Rittmeyer is also fluent in Spanish, French and sign language. He has coached deaf youth and gives all players equal attention for instruction. There have been multiple occasions when Rittmeyer has gone out of his way to make sure any child who wants to play soccer gets an opportunity. He also obtained a “D” License in June.