The Excellence in Youth Coaching Education award is also known as the Dr. Thomas Fleck award. It is designed to honor a lifetime of dedication where one has led with integrity, honor, humor and humility and has made extensive and far reaching contributions to the process by which youth soccer coaches are educated in America.
Hilary Kennedy, host of The US Youth Soccer Show on Fox Soccer, set the stage for the night as the master of ceremonies for the more than 1,000 in attendance. Boys and Girls Recreation
Coaches of the Year, Young Referee
of the Year, Administrator of the Year
, Volunteer of the Year
of the Year and the TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year
were also presented during the Gala and the US Youth Soccer Hall of Fame
inductees were honored as well.
VIDEO: Bill Buren's Acceptance Speech
Long before being announced as the recipient of this award, Bill Buren held a connection to Dr. Thomas Fleck. It was during some of Buren’s early coaching days at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Fla., that Fleck served as a replacement speaker at the team’s end-of-season banquet when the featured speaker was unable to attend. Buren acted on advice Fleck gave him at the dinner and attended coaching school to earn his "C" License, which jumpstarted nearly three decades working as a student and educator of the coaching profession.
After receiving his "C" License in 1984, Buren was named a member of the Florida Youth Soccer Association State Staff, where he became both a coach for the US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program and an instructor of state coaching. By 1990, Buren earned his "B" License and "A" License. He has served as head coach with FYSA several times during the past 28 years in addition to acting as a staff coach for US Youth Soccer ODP Girls Region III and the head coach of the Men’s State Select Team of the FYSA.
Buren has proven to be a key educator for coaches, instructing more than 300 courses during his career to help other coaches improve their craft. In 1995, he was named to the committee that developed the National Youth License coaching course and the State Youth Modules. He is also the co-author of The Official US Youth Soccer Coaching Manual and has taught the National Youth License course, as well as National "C" License courses for U.S. Soccer.
His instruction isn’t limited to the United States, however, as Buren has traveled to Germany and taught courses as an outreach by U.S. Soccer and US Youth Soccer to military personnel and their dependents stationed overseas. Buren has traveled the world on a yearly basis and has established contacts that have developed into exchange programs for both players and coaches.
Prior to his time as a coach and instructor, Buren played four years for the club team at the University of Mississippi before attending graduate school at the University of Florida.