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US Youth Soccer Members Honored

January 17, 2005 09:00 PM
Fleck, Gurney, Monaco and Palmeiro Awarded for Service

RICHARDSON, TEXAS (January 18, 2005) - During this weekend’s National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, several members of the US Youth Soccer family were honored at the association’s annual awards banquet. Dr. Thomas Fleck Jr., one of the most widely recognized members of the association, was presented the 2004 Honor Award for a lifetime of service, Florida’s Don Gurney received the Youth Long-Term Service Award, Virginia’s Larry Monaco received the Recreational Youth Girls Award and US Youth Soccer Region I Director Robert Palmeiro received a Letter of Commendation for outstanding contributions to the game of soccer.

Fleck’s selection as the 63rd recipient of the NSCAA's most esteemed award marks yet another achievement in the life of the 67-year-old Philadelphia native. President of the NSCAA for two years (1982-84), Fleck was instrumental in the establishment of the NSCAA Academies, the association's soccer coaching education division. He served as a member of its teaching staff for more than a quarter of a century. He also represented the U.S. Soccer Federation as the technical advisor for the 1980 World Youth Championship in Tunisia, as well as the 1994 World Cup hosted by the United States.

Inducted into the Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame in 1996, Fleck also received the Walt Chyzowych Memorial Fund Award last year. He was presented an NSCAA Letter of Commendation in 1986 and participated in the torch relay for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games.

The Youth Long-Term Service Award recognizes “outstanding achievement in youth soccer or contributions that have made a positive impact on the youth soccer environment, and years of service to youth soccer,” and is chosen based on nominations and a weighted ballot system. As a part of US Youth Soccer for over 28 years, Gurney has served as a coach, a District Commissioner of the Florida Youth Soccer Association, a Regional Select Team Camp Administrator, and as the President of the Florida Youth Soccer Association, in addition to being instrumental in pioneering youth soccer programs in Florida during the mid-1970’s, where at the time the sport was relatively unknown.

He became the first inductee into the Florida Youth Soccer Association Hall of Fame in 1988 while also serving as the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program Girls Region III Administrator. Don has a long held philosophy that, “if you are not in soccer to benefit the players, then get out of the game.”

The Recreational Youth Girls Award was presented to Larry Monaco, a long-time contributor to soccer at all levels. He has served as an officer of the Virginia Youth Soccer Association for more than 20 years and currently serves as Vice President. Monaco also has served in a variety of capacities for the U.S. Soccer Federation and US Youth soccer, including Parliamentarian, Appeals Committee Chair and vice president. Most recently he moved to southeastern Virginia, where he started the Soccer Club of Northern Neck. He served as President in its early years and now serves as Treasurer of the club. He continues to referee and also coaches girls and co-ed recreational teams.

The Letter of Commendation award recognizes “exemplary service or special contribution to the NSCAA, and distinct or unique contributions or achievement in the game of soccer.” Robert Palmeiro began his service to youth soccer as an Under-12 coach and in US Youth Soccer ODP. Palmeiro rose through the ranks of Rhode Island’s youth soccer association, serving as its president from 1986 until 1989. That year, he was elected as US Youth Soccer Region I Director. He has held that position ever since, helping expand and create opportunities for more than 1.2 million youth players in Region I.

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US Youth Soccer - The Game for ALL Kids!® is the largest youth sports organization in the United States and largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body of soccer in the United States. US Youth Soccer registers more than 3.2 million players annually, ages 5 to 19, and over 900,000 administrators, coaches and volunteers in 55 member state associations. US Youth Soccer programs provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game.




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