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Coaching Oct 07, 2020

United Soccer Coaches honors High School Coach of Significance Award recipients

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – United Soccer Coaches, along with the association’s High School Coaches Advocacy Group, has announced the recipients of the Fourth Annual High School Coach of Significance Award.

The High School Coach of Significance Award recognizes members who are coaching for character and using the soccer field to teach life lessons at the high school level. It is an opportunity for each state, in conjunction with United Soccer Coaches, to recognize coaches who are making an impact within their schools and communities well beyond their records of wins and losses.

“Among the various achievements and plaudits to which one may aspire as a coach, the loftiest is to be known as a coach who has touched lives and shaped people. This is the essence of the teacher-coach,” said Kevin Sims, United Soccer Coaches President. “I salute and thank all of the recipients of the High School Coach of Significance Award for understanding that first, we are coaches of people. To develop responsible adults and contributing citizens through the beautiful game of soccer fulfills the calling of high school coaches.”

Recipients of the 2020 High School Coach of Significance Award are listed alphabetically by state:

  • Alabama – Joe Webb (Mountain Brook HS/Birmingham, Ala.)
  • Alaska – Dan Rufner (Service HS/Anchorage, Alaska)
  • Arizona – Matt Smith (Corona del Sol/Tempe, Ariz.)
  • California – Eric Cortez (Oakland International HS/Turlock, Calif.)
  • Colorado – Tony Romano (Legacy HS/Erie, Colo.)
  • Florida – Greg Winkler (Charlotte HS/Punta Gorda, Fla.)
  • Georgia – Aaron Wessner (Sprayberry HS/Marietta, Ga.)
  • Hawaii – Dave Trifonovitch (Punahou HS/Kailua, Hawaii)
  • Idaho – Jakob Wood (Jerome HS/Jerome, Idaho)
  • Illinois – Jose Galvan (Macomb HS/Macomb, Ill.)
  • Indiana – Rob Jordan (Zionsville Community HS/Indianapolis, Ind.)
  • Iowa – Sue Rink (Hudson HS/Cedar Falls, Iowa)
  • Kansas – Josh Wikler (Wyandotte HS/Lenexa, Kan.)
  • Kentucky – Mike Wiersema (McCracken County HS/Paducah. Ky.)
  • Louisiana – Nick Artigue (Ouachita Parish HS/Collinston, La.)
  • Maine – Mike McGraw (Lewiston HS/Lewiston, Maine)
  • Maryland – Marc Burkom (Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School/Baltimore, Md.)
  • Massachusetts – Ryan Puntiri (Hingham HS/Norwell, Mass.)
  • Michigan – Mark Howell (Brighton HS/Howell, Mich.)
  • Mississippi – Cecil Hinds (Madison Central HS/Madison, Miss.)
  • Missouri – Matthew Pritchett (Pembroke HS/Kansas City, Mo.)
  • Nebraska – Alex Cerny (Lincoln HS/Lincoln, Neb.)
  • Nevada – Andrew Robles (Douglas HS/Gardnerville, Nev.)
  • New Hampshire – Alan Magnusson (Sanborn Regional HS/Kingston, N.H.)
  • New Jersey – Marty Berman (Seton Hall Prep/West Orange, N.J.)
  • New Mexico – Ann Cernicek (Los Alamos HS/Los Alamos, N.M.)
  • New York – Sandro Prosperino (Valhalla HS/Valhalla, N.Y.)
  • North Carolina – Jose Cornejo (St. David’s School/Apex, N.C.)
  • Ohio – Michael Fee (Summit Country Day/Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • Oklahoma – Seth Condley (Stillwater HS/Stillwater, Okla.)
  • Oregon – Jay Jacobsen (Sam Barlow HS/Gresham, Ore.)
  • Pennsylvania – Blair Gerlach (Mars Area HS/Mars, Pa.)
  • South Carolina – David Mihoulides (South Aiken HS/Aiken, S.C.)
  • Tennessee – Russ Plummer (Hendersonville HS/Hendersonville, Tenn.)
  • Texas – Amy Trocquet (Cypress Woods HS/Cypress, Texas)
  • Utah – Bobby Kennedy (Rowland Hall/Salt Lake City, Utah)
  • Vermont – Buddy Hayford (Twin Valley Middle HS/Whitingham, Vt.)
  • Virginia – Jared Rottmund (Powhatan HS/Cartersville, Va.)
  • Washington – Robby Dohrn (Seattle World School/Seattle, Wash.)
  • Wisconsin – Derek Bell (Stevens Point Area HS/Stevens Point, Wis.)
  • International – Mark Lange (MC Perry HS/FPO/Japan)

As the award continues to grow, the fourth annual class represents a total of 40 states and one coach leading a high school program on a U.S. military base in Japan. As the award continues to grow, the goal is to annually recognize a recipient from all 50 states.

“The High School Coaches Advocacy Group could not be more excited or proud to honor this fine collection of high school coaches from across the nation,” said Howie Putterman, High School Advocacy Group Chair. “This particular accomplishment speaks to the ‘why’ behind our coaching – that innate desire to coach the whole player, both on and off the pitch. Interscholastic athletics is about more than winning and these fine coaches have demonstrated that they can coach at a high level and still spend time and energy teaching players to become a positive force. High School Coaches of Significance make a difference in their communities while helping grow and develop future leaders. Congratulations to this year’s outstanding coaches. Your significance in your players’ lives is your ultimate accomplishment!”

Each of the High School Coach of Significance Award nominees are reviewed by the selection committee comprised of national, regional, and state representation.