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Missouri Youth Soccer Association

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Jan, 2020

2019/20 MYSA Awards

Top Soccer Buddy of the Year –  Juan Fernandez (PKSA)

Juan became involved with TOP Soccer 3 years ago, he has a huge impact on the program with his natural ability to be a leader and kindness and compassion for our program participants. Juan coordinates other volunteers and mentors them as they come into our top soccer program. In addition to playing and volunteering for TOP Soccer and Little Strikers, Juan works and pays his own tuition for Sacred Heart school as well as for his own club ball. Juan encompasses every value of the mission of US Youth Soccer. 

Top Soccer Coach of the Year –  Alex Esquivel (LCS)

Alex brought the idea of running a TOPSoccer program at Lake Country Soccer (LCS) when he started college at Drury University. He had been involved as a volunteer with the Sedalia program. He worked with LCS Staff to get the program off the ground. Even as a student-athlete he found time to volunteer as a lead coach each TOP Soccer session. He also encouraged his college teammates to join as coaches which many did throughout each of the first 2 seasons. Alex is the main reason why this decision was made to bring it to Springfield. Alex continues to stay involved in the LCS TOPSoccer program as a coach and by recruiting more volunteers. When Alex came to John Markey with the idea of getting a TOPSoccer program, it was only due to his love for the program and the positive experiences he had during his involvement with the Sedalia program. He gave his time and efforts selflessly without any thought of recognition for himself. His whole goal in mind was for those kids that didn't have the opportunity to enjoy soccer in Springfield due to physical and mental limitations. 

Volunteer of the Year –  Jennifer Haag (Kolping Kicks)

Jennifer started as Team Mom and quickly became a member of the Kolping Board of Directors. She is involved in all of their fundraising efforts and manages all of their field scheduling. She volunteers at her children's school and even though her own children have moved on from Kolping she remains a board member and event coordinator. She manages all the equipment needs through Soccer Master and Adidas as well as managing Kolping Fan Wear purchasing, while always promoting the game and the club. She also helps with events for their parent organization, the Catholic Kolping Society of St. Louis. Jennifer always puts the players first, has never been compensated for any of her efforts, and is always a Team Mom to any player she comes in contact with. 

Administrator of the Year –  Katie Ellsworth (LCS)

Katie has been an administrator with Lake Country Soccer for 16 years working in many capacities over that time frame. Of all the programs, she has been involved with, Lake Country Soccer believes her role in taking on the LCS TOPSoccer program has been her most successful. It was a task born out of love for the mentally and physically handicapped soccer players. She utilized her contacts in the schools and community organizations that work with disadvantaged kids to get the word out to potential participants. The results were fabulous with over 50 kids in the program by the 2nd season. More importantly, by reaching out to the local soccer community, she was able to secure an abundance of volunteer "buddies" for each session. The community involvement grew to the point that we had to turn some volunteers away. As with all programs Katie is involved in, she utilizes the soccer community she has been a part of for 16 years to enhance the value of each program. 

Competitive Girls Coach of the Year –  Ron Edele (Tony Glavin SC)

Ron has always been extremely positive with all the players in every situation. He encourages the players to be respectful of the game, which includes the opponents, referees, and parents. Ron has created an environment that players want to be involved in. He continually looks for new ways to bring fun and competition to his training sessions which makes sure that the players are all engaged. He makes sure to push them to limits that they didn't think they could compete at while having fun with them so they know that they are being supported in the process. Ron has really worked with his club to encourage and teach our philosophy and adapted it to support his own thoughts. He believes in player development among all players regardless of prior experiences or talents. He encourages players to be confident on the ball in all situations regardless of age and helps them to work through mistakes. Ron has his USSF F License and will be working on his D very soon as he wants to continue his education to benefit the players’ development. He frequently attends other coaches’ training sessions in the club to take notes and see what works for them. This helps him to understand other ideas as it relates age-appropriate development. 

Competitive Boys Coach of the Year –  Will Larson (AJAX STL)

Coach Larson does a tremendous job of promoting sportsmanship. He instills in his players that playing the right way supersedes winning. He communicates to players and parents the importance of being respectful and positive in all aspects of the game. At the beginning of each season, he communicates to parents with the request that we, "let the players play, let the coaches coach, and let the referees officiate the game." At times, our team's competition level has become lopsided (to our favor). Instead of continuing to run-up the score like some teams, Coach Larson rotates players around the field to encourage their development and slow the game down. He aspires to have all players maintain humility by having them shake hands after every game (telling the other team, "good game"), thanking the referee, and thanking the parents for their support during the game. Even during the lopsided wins, he never focuses on the result but asks his players ow they did and how they could improve. Above all, he ensures that his players are ultimately having fun. Ron is a true leader in every sense of the word. 

Boys Recreational Coach of the Year –  Luis Cruz (PKSA)

Luis is active as a coach for soccer and futsal, sometimes taking on more than one team a season due to coaching shortages. He plays in several PKSA leagues throughout the year and brings the same positive culture that he exhibits as a coach. Luis has always shown great sportsmanship not only for his players but throughout the league, no matter what division he is coaching. He has displayed a positive culture when interacting with children, referees, parents and board members, showing respect and empathy towards everyone he meets. Luis is willing to assist other coaches when asked and helps in any way possible. He not only has a passion for soccer but also helping within the community. 


Girls Recreational Coach of the Year –  Kori Simons (PKSA)

Kori herself grew up playing Paul Klover. As an adult, Kori has coached youth basketball, youth softball and youth soccer. She is always present at events hosted by the organizations to further her knowledge and love of the game. In addition to coaching Kori participates in many different walk/run fundraising events and is a part of SCEA (School teacher organization) As an organization, Paul Klover Soccer Association mentions they are blessed to have Kori as a coach, she makes a difference in the lives of youth through soccer. Kori represent every value we have for the recreational game of soccer- she is fair, kind, encouraging. 

Young Female Referee of the Year –  Eve Salomon

Eve started playing soccer in 2008 and started with refereeing in 2016. As she has grown in refereeing, she has grown in her ability to engage people off the field as well. She expresses herself as even-keeled, even during intense times in games. To further develop herself, Eve comes to referee development sessions held at Lake Country. This past year, she participated in a countless number of tournaments where her knowledge of refereeing and confidence continued to grow. Not only does Eve referee, she continues to play in the Women's Open league at Lake Country and gives back through coaching youth. She has coached players from 5 years old to High School. Eve is also highly involved with the community outside of soccer. She volunteers at a local non-profit called Newborns in Need. She also participates in her local church and small group through Catholic Campus Ministry that serves MSU, Drury & OTC.

Young Male Referee of the Year –  Tanner Palmer

Tanner became a referee in 2017, but was a player long before becoming a referee. His continued work ethic and drive to improve, has put him above other referees his same age and experience level. This past year, Tanner started refereeing at the Rogers, AR adult amateur league as an 18-year-old. In efforts to continue to challenge himself, he applied and was selected to attend DA Summer Playoffs & Winter DA Cup. Tanner also achieved all the requirements to become a Regional Referee in 2020. This fall, he continued to challenge himself by becoming a member of Elite College Soccer Referees & receiving his first college assignments. He also continues to recruit new referees. Not only has he recruited new referees, those he has recruited have quickly rose through the ranks at Lake Country to become very successful and great referees. 



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