English-born Beach FC coach Jon Hall soaks up PWSI Toys for Tots tourney
By Roger Gonzalez
Leaning over a short fence, Jon Hall watched Beach FC’s 01B Red Crew play at the 2012 PWSI Toys for Tots Tournament in Coles, Va over the weekend. An England-born coach for the Virginia Beach-based side, Hall also took in the competition as a fan and father.
Breaking down the game with a fellow coach, Hall examined each player’s performance, including his own son’s play, as the team did battle with McLean Rangers Green in Under-11 Red division play.
“I came to watch my son and help out,” said Hall, who has lived in the United States since 1987.
The Manchester United supporter touched on several topics of the weekend tournament with Soccer Wire, including why the squad decided to enter the cup.
“I think it’s a great experience for us and Virginia Beach,” Hall said. “We are pretty far away. The quality of soccer up here in Northern Virginia is fantastic. It’s an experience for us and an education. It helps us realize what else is around the state. The quality up here is really high.”
The coach noted that the facilities, and the solid competition, are not the only reason the team travels north to take part in Toys for Tots. With the tournament having donated thousands of toys thanks to the Toys for Tots campaign over the years, Hall has made it a point to stress the importance of giving to all of the players.
“You want the kids to play travel soccer, but they are not just learning to play soccer, they are learning good ethics, good morals and to be good people,” he said. “A tournament such as this promotes all of it. At Beach FC, we support this tournament, we send a lot of teams here because we believe in what Prince William is doing.”
He also supports the new artificial-turf fields, one of which was finished just before the tournament started at Howison Park.
“Luckily, I’ve been in Virginia long enough [to remember] before they put these [turf fields] down,” Hall said. “They were so used, highly used. I think it’s great. The complex is fantastic. We are very pleased to be here.”
Having been born in England, the birthplace of the beautiful game, the coach had to answer at least one question about his opinion on the growth of soccer in the U.S. It’s safe to say he believes the sport is advancing at a rapid pace.
“The sport is growing,” Hall said. “America, when our kids are coaching their kids, I think the United States will be a major world force. I think we are a generation away.”