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News - Details


December 16, 2014 06:08 PM

National winner to be named at US Youth Soccer Awards Gala 
@USYouthSoccer live announcement of national winner

US Youth Soccer is pleased to announce the regional winners of the 2014 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, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m., as part of the 
US Youth Soccer Workshop at the NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia.

Brief bios of the regional winners are below based on the submitted nomination forms: 

Boys Recreation Coach of the Year regional award winners:

Region I – Steven Bane – St. Albans, W.V.

Steve Bane coaches to teach his players the mechanics of the game, build confidence in their ability to compete and create a sense of camaraderie to succeed as a group. Steve displays a great passion for the game and instills that same love of soccer in his players. He has guided the South Charleston Eagles for six years, devoting much of his time to make sure each player has a great experience.

Region II – James Barron – Fishers, Ind.
James Barron cares about his players and goes out of his way to make sure his teams are having fun, even creating a website for each team with a roster, highlights and schedule. He teaches the value of teamwork and knows the best coach lets his players go out and play without micromanaging them. James is able to connect well with older recreational players, as he makes sure players of all ages have a chance to enjoy the game.

About James Barron: Jim coaches in the high school rec program with Fishers.  He has coached for 15 seasons and hasn’t had a child on the team in years!  He does it for the love of the game and to see the kids enjoying themselves out there.  Jim truly cares about the kids and that they are having fun in a safe environment.  He just really connects with the high school age group which can be difficult!  His players love being around him.  Jim is very organized and is in constant communication with his players through a website he creates for his teams.  For the past 3 summers, he has organized “Summer Night Soccer” where high school kids just show up and play, for the love of the game and to keep everyone active. Jim is a great mentor to the high school kids in Fishers and tries his best to teach the kids about what TEAM means!

Region III – Jason Butts – Kathleen, Ga.

After asking his players how they would like to improve, Jason Butts works with each individual throughout the season. He pushes the players to become confident players while also treating all opponents with respect. As a member of the U.S. Air Force, Jason has taught his players various aspects of leadership, as well as the importance of schoolwork. The proper balance of athletics and academics has helped his players be successful both on and off the field.

Region IV – John McKenzie – Bremerton, Wash.

In 13 years as a recreational coach, John McKenzie has used soccer to instill the qualities of sportsmanship and teamwork in his players. Players say he taught them how to be young men first and soccer players second. John helps pass on to his player a desire to play the game and the team always has fun while competing. In addition to recreational coaching, John is involved in TOPSoccer, where he coaches and works as a buddy.

Girls Recreation Coach of the Year regional award winners:

Region I – Ted Merkel – Pittsford, N.Y.

Keeping the game fun is Ted Merkel’s top priority as a coach for the Pittsford Mustangs. He plans his practices to make sure his players are always trying different things and getting as many touches of the ball as possible. Ted encourages his players to stay active in the sport, and he organizes soccer nights in the community between seasons to give kids a fun setting to play, as well as trips to local professional matches for rec and travel teams.

Region II – Ken Novak – Mitchell, S.D.

Ken Novak has helped Mitchell Soccer Association fill several coaching positions to simply give the kids an opportunity to play. He has coached every age group and focuses on keeping players positive at all times, even reaching out to opposing players who had a tough game. Even with eight kids of his own, Ken devotes a lot of his time to the game he loves and making sure all players have a great experience playing soccer.

Region III – Tina Whaley – Chattanooga, Tenn.

A mother of two soccer players, Tina Whaley has coached four seasons of recreational soccer and is always willing to lend a helping hand. She obtained her USSF ‘E’ License to gain more knowledge, which she has used to help her team and others. As an elementary school teacher, Tina encourages kids to have “Soccer Fridays,” where she plays soccer at recess with them — creating an opportunity for those new to the game to have a chance to play soccer.

Region IV – Edward Davies – Pleasanton, Calif.

Players and parents on Edward Davies’ teams learn that sportsmanship and playing the game properly are more important than winning. His four rules are to try as hard as you can, keep getting better, respect the team and honor the game. Edward encourages players to learn to make good decisions for themselves and their teammates. He helped organize a friendly tournament to allow players a chance to continue to grow and improve while playing in a fun environment.

The US Youth Soccer Workshop will take place in Philadelphia Jan. 14-18, 2015. The annual Workshop will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention. The week is designed to further the education of coaches, administrators, referees and enthusiasts involved in the game. For more information please visit