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US Youth Soccer mourns the loss of Dr. Thomas Fleck

December 26, 2011 09:00 PM
Dr. Thomas Fleck, long time coaching educator, died Saturday, December 24, 2011.

For more than 40 years, Dr. Thomas Fleck has fostered the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of America's youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition, the mission of US Youth Soccer.

Fleck was recognized for his service as the inaugural recipient of the US Youth Soccer Excellence in Youth Coaching Education Award in 2005. The Excellence in Youth Coaching Education Award was designed to honor a lifetime of dedication where one has with integrity, honor, humor and humility made extensive and far reaching contributions to the process by which youth soccer coaches are educated in America. The award was named after Fleck.

"Dr. Fleck's impact on our sport was profound," said Sam Snow, coaching director of US Youth Soccer. "Tom educated and influenced generations of American soccer coaches and was a pioneer in the growth of our sport during the 'soccer boom' of the 70s and 80s.  I was exceptionally fortunate to have had Tom as a mentor and he was a close friend as well.  His passing is a loss to soccer in the USA."

The former Youth Coordinator of the U.S. Soccer Federation, Fleck was one of the original National Staff Coaches with U.S. Soccer and served as an instructor for U.S. Soccer for 30 years. Recognized as the leading authority on youth soccer development and education, Fleck was the primary author of the National Youth License as well as the US Youth Soccer Assistant Coach Series, The Official US Youth Soccer Coaching Manual and Parent Coach Primer that are still used by coaches across the nation and specifically in the various State Association coaching courses. Fleck also worked as the director of coaching for the Florida Youth Soccer association and the Idaho Youth Soccer Association, both proud members of US Youth Soccer.

One of the most widely recognized members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA); Dr. Fleck was presented the 2004 Honor Award for a lifetime of service from the NSCAA, the association's most esteemed award, in 2005. President of the NSCAA for two years (1984 and 1982), 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. In 2004, Fleck received the Walt Chyzowych Award for Lifetime Achievement in Coaching Education.

Fleck was the general manager of the Philadelphia Fury in the North American Professional Soccer League from 1979 to 1982. He was a professor and head men's soccer coach at Lehigh University from 1965 to 1978. Fleck was a collegiate All American at West Chester State in Pennsylvania. He was inducted into the Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame in 1996.

The family celebrates his life and as Tom would say, "Let them play!"

A memorial service will be held in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, January 21.  Further details will be published on

The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the following:

Marks Gray, P.A.
FBO The Dr. Thomas Fleck, Jr. Foundation
1200 Riverplace Blvd., Suite 800
Jacksonville, FL 32207
(904) 807-2183



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