Two Big Events, One Site, One Week In January

It just made sense when discussions were held to merge the US Youth Soccer Workshop into the NSCAA Convention.

Both are large annual events, and there was significant overlap among the attendees.

A year ago in Indinapolis, In., the first combined event was held. It seemed to work well, and the two organizations are doing it again in Philadelphia this year.

“We are very proud of the Workshop as it has been, but it just made a lot of sense to eliminate duplicting events,” Todd Roby, US Youth Soccer Director of Marketing and Communication, said a year ago. “It has been well received by our members.”

Joe Cummings, CEO of the NSCAA, saw it as a positive move to bring a large youth organization under the NSCAA Convention umbrella.

“US Youth Soccer was open to the possibility (of merger) and both sides worked over the past two years to make it happen,” Cummings said a year ago.

By combining the events, the convention and workshop have a common registration, and instructional and meeting space is made available for all of the programs on the two separate program schedules. Anyone with a convention badge is able to attend any of the sessions.

“I wouldn’t say they are separate events,” said Cummings when speaking of the convention and the workshop, “although there are parts of the US Youth Workshop that are indeed held apart from NSCAA functions, but that is true of many organizations that have events at our convention.”

One of the major US Youth Soccer events is the annual Awards Gala, to be held Friday night, Jan. 17. Regional award winners for Coach of the Year, Young Referee of the Year, TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Administrator of the Year will be recognized and honored at the Gala.

All of those four regional winners are candidates for national award selection, with those winners announced at the Awards Gala.

US Youth Soccer will also induct its Class of 2014 into the US Youth Soccer Hall of Fame at the Gala. This will be the seventh class to be inducted.

Scheduled for induction are Virgil Lewis. Jon and Connie Bivens, Charlotte Moran and Dr. Thomas Fleck. Moran and Fleck, both deceased, will be inducted pothumously.

Lewis, who will be inducted as a Coach/Administrator, is a Past President of US Youth Soccer, and has been active as both a coach and administrator in various states in his lifetime.

Jon and Connie Bivens, inducted for Meritorious Service, were typical soccer parents when they were “drafted’ as coach, referee and eam mom. Their business, Sport Pins International, Inc., evolved from their involvement in numerous youth tournaments in California, Arizona, Nevada and Canada.

Moran was involved with youth soccer in Eastern Pennsylvania, including serving as Executive Director. She was a strong advocate and driving force for improving the game, especially the women’s game.

For two years she was the Chairperson for the U.S. Soccer Women’s Committee. She was also a member of the NSCAAs Diversity Committee and Women’s Committee. She will be inducted as an Administrator.

Dr. Thomas Fleck was one of the original national Staff Coaches with U.S. Soccer and served as an instructor for over 30 years. He was the director of coaching for the Florida Youth Soccer Association and the Idaho Youth Soccer Association.

He was presented the 2004 Honor Award for a lifetime of service from the NSCAA. He served as NSCAA President for two years He is being inducted in the Coach classification.

Fleck, who grew up in Phiadelphia, where he played high school and club soccer and college soccer at West Chester State, was the inaugural recipient of the US Youth Soccer Dr. Thomas Fleck Excellence in Youth Coaching Education Award in 2005.

Receiving that award at this year’s Gala will be former U.S. Men’s National Team Coach Bob Gansler, who was first named to U.S. Soccer’s national coaching staff in 1975.

Since then he has taught countless National “A”, “B” and “C” coaching couses and was named a FIFA instructor in 1994.

Gansler, who has been a clinician at many NSCAA conventions, was the USA’s World Cup coach in the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. That marked the USA’s return to a World Cup in 40 years.

The Dr. Thomas Fleck Award is another in a long list of coaching recognition for Gansler, including the “Walt Chyzowych Lifetime Achievement Award,” the 2013 NSCAA “Long Term Service to Youth” award, and induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2011.

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