2013 US Youth Soccer Competitive Coach of the Year regional winners announced
National winner to be named at US Youth Soccer Awards Gala
Twitter: @USYouthSoccer live announcement of national winner
FRISCO, Texas (Dec. 17, 2013) — US Youth Soccer is pleased to announce the regional winners of the 2013 US Youth Soccer Boys and Girls Competitive Coach of the Year awards. The Competitive Coach of the Year is awarded to a competitive 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 Competitive Coach of the Year will be announced at the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala on Friday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m., as part of the US Youth Soccer Workshop
in Philadelphia, held in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention.
Brief bios of the regional winners are below based on the submitted nomination forms.
Boys Competitive Coach of the Year regional winners:
Region I – Mohamed Bennani – Arlington, Va.
Mohamed Bennani is a U.S. Soccer ‘A’-Licensed coach who has worked with more than 1,000 Washington, D.C.-area players in the past 10 years. He currently coaches the top teams in DC Stoddert Soccer, challenging players with a diversity of skill sets. Mohamed aims to ensure his players learn something new every time they take the field, and he makes sure they share a common sense of loyalty and respect for their teammates and opponents.
Region II – Minos Vlamakis – Chicago, Ill.
On the field, Minos Vlamakis helped his Raiders FC team to State Cup, US Youth Soccer Region II Championship and US Youth Soccer National League titles, and they were 2013 US Youth Soccer National Finalists. Off the field, Minos personally spoke with academic counselors and held study tables on trips, to ensure his players kept up with academics and remained on track for graduation. He’s also organized an annual charity game to raise money for cancer patients.
Region III – Tony Posner – Collierville, Tenn.
Playing the game the right way is a focal point of Tony Posner’s team. He’s earned the respect of parents and opposing coaches for his respectful, hard-working attitude. Those qualities are reflected in his team, which has had success at the state and regional levels with great sportsmanship — earning the Fair Play award at the US Youth Soccer Region III Championships. Tony acts as a teacher for his players, showing them how to carry themselves on and off the field.
Region IV – C.O. Taylor – Albuquerque, N.M.
Respect is a pivotal part of C.O. Taylor’s teams. He encourages sportsmanship on the field and pushes his players to build strong relationships off of it. Taylor implements new drills to help his players improve and stay motivated. He’s always supportive and makes it a point to offer two positive praises whenever he corrects players to keep them confident in their ability. He has a Level 'E' Coaching License and continues to attend sessions to improve his coaching knowledge.
Girls Competitive Coach of the Year regional winners:
Region I – Pam Knight – Hanover, Mass.
As a coach and owner of Synergy Soccer, Pam Knight brings enthusiasm and a love of the game to each training session. She continues to improve her coaching knowledge and brings fresh drills to her teams. She encourages her players to pursue US Youth Soccer ODP and other avenues to improve, and Pam’s teams also participate in charity events in the community. In 2012, more than 50 of her Synergy members ran in a charity event on Thanksgiving morning.
Region II – Rachel Twist – Omaha, Neb.
Rachel Twist tells her players that if they choose to have a positive attitude, it will transfer to the game and they’ll play at a higher level. She acts as a role model and makes sure her team is respectful of others. Rachel has multiple coaching diplomas, which help her guide her Elkhorn United team to improve and allows her to assist each player individually. She’s currently pursuing ‘D’ and ‘C’ Licenses to improve her coaching education.
Region III – Shane C. Kowalski – Bay St. Louis, Miss.
Shane Kowalski holds a USSF ‘D’ coaching license and continues to attend workshops to advance his coaching education. He makes a point to highlight lessons learned from both wins and losses and stresses the value of teamwork to be successful. For Shane, success doesn’t come solely from wins, but from improving skills and having a positive attitude on the field. Shane was also instrumental in helping organize blood drives when a local player was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Region IV – Zahra Lechak – Auburn, Wash.
Development is the main objective for Zahra Lechak when it comes to her players. She’s guided several teams and many players to reach and extend their potential, and has led multiple teams at DOS FC and Seattle United to US Youth Soccer Washington State Cup finals, semifinals and quarterfinals. A talented player at UConn, Lechak now has her USSF 'A’ License and has worked on the US Youth Soccer ODP Region IV staff, as well as with the Seattle Sounders.
The US Youth Soccer Workshop will be held in Philadelphia from January 15-19, 2014. 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 USYouthSoccer.org/Workshop/NSCAA