Kutztown native Gary Schoedler, Kutztown Area High School Class of 1985, has been named the 2010 CJSA Connecticut Soccer Coach of the Year - Male Team.
The South Windsor, Conn., resident will receive the soccer award at the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association's 20th Annual President's Dinner on Jan. 28.
Without Schoedler's knowledge, the club asked for letters of recommendation for this award. More than 50 individuals came forward willing to submit a letter on his behalf. Four letters of recommendation were submitted, each one representing a different point of view.
Will Weil and the U13 A South Windsor Strikers Team wrote about Coach Gary's positive influence on their team.
'If Coach Gary was not my coach I would not be the soccer player that I am today. He taught us things like sportsmanship, team-building, and he helped us progress with our soccer skills. After the whistle is blown at the end of the game, our coach taught us to line up right away to shake the other team's hands because it shows respect for the game and to the other team,''they wrote.
The Strikers also wrote that he taught them technical or tactical soccer skills.
'He has helped us all to progress with our skills and talents. All-in-all, Coach Gary taught us how to play soccer the right way and that is why he should be chosen as the OSA Coach of the Year,' they wrote.
Parents of the South Windsor U13 Boys Soccer Team Grace Inkel, Terri Anne Duff and Kelley Galvin wrote about Schoedler's dedication and commitment to the boys and the game of soccer.
'Three years ago we found ourselves in a position that we had enough players for two teams but no coach for a second team,' they wrote. 'Although he didn't have a child in the boys travel program, Gary willingly volunteered to be the coach, so all the boys had an opportunity to play.'
One parent wrote, 'Having been involved in the game throughout my life, including coaching, Gary is definitely the very best I've seen. I have found most impressive over the years, his strategic approach and command of the game while having the respect and love of his players.'
South Windsor Soccer Club President James Mitchell wrote in a recommendation letter that 'Gary is one of the most highly respected members of the board of directors as he directs our Boys Travel Division and is now our Director of Coaching.'
Schoedler received perfect scores from all of the parents that responded to their Coaching Surveys. They asked questions such as demonstrates good sportsmanship, has sufficient knowledge for this level of instruction, would your child want to play for this coach again and would you want your child to play for this coach again.
'Not only have the kids and coaches exposed to Gary benefited from his coaching, Gary has also had success on the field,' wrote Mitchell.
His teams are usually leader in the Central/North Central league standings. His Ul3 Boys team went to the CT Cup semi-finals.
According to Mitchell, last season, Schoedler introduced a team coaching concept where he successfully lead a group of coaches to coach two teams divided as a red team and white team instead of an 'A' and 'B' team so all the boys at that age group could practice together and develop as one group.
'When we wanted to create a Director of Coaches for the club, Gary was the obvious choice,''wrote Mitchell. 'Gary's experience and leadership immediately made an impact on other coaches and kids as he served as a mentor a guide for coaches in our program. Players, parents and coaches could instantly see the difference Gary made in improving practice sessions.'
Mitchell wrote that Schoedler is one of the club's most valued assets.
'He is an excellent coach, a leader among his peers. I believe his contributions make him worthy of Coach of the Year honors,' wrote Mitchell.
Criteria for the award included sportsmanship; player development such as enthusiasm, creativity, independence, self-confidence and risk taking; personal coaching development such as continuing to learn and perfect skills and abilities; citizenship such as being well known in own soccer community and being open to suggestions or other ideas.