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2013 US Youth Soccer Recreation Coach of the Year Regional Award Winners Announced

December 17, 2013 08:01 AM



2013 US Youth Soccer Recreation Coach of the Year Regional Award Winners Announced

National winner to be named at US Youth Soccer Awards Gala 
@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 Recreation Coach of the Year awards. The Recreation Coach of the Year is awarded to a recreation 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 Recreation 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 at the NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia.
Brief bios of the regional winners are below based on the submitted nomination forms.
Boys Recreation Coach of the Year regional award winners:
Region I – Christina Franceschi – Buffalo, N.Y.
Coaching for Buffalo Soccer Club, Christina Franceschi uses soccer to develop wellness and character for kids — many from underprivileged families. She coaches U-6 players and middle school-aged boys, providing a fun environment to play and develop sportsmanship. Her coaching helped five players make their varsity high school teams, and she sees soccer as a learning experience for all players. As an active volunteer, Christina also uses her time to work with the Special Olympics program.
Region II – Karen Dittbrenner – Beatrice, Neb.
Sportsmanship is the focus of Karen Dittbrenner’s teams, as she believes the lessons learned on the soccer field can help her players later in life and in their careers. She creates fun ways to help her players improve and looks for training activities outside of normal practices for her team. Karen is active in the community and helped organize a soccer tournament for adults and kids, in addition to working toward obtaining her second master’s degree.
Region III – Michael Ericksen – Hendersonville, N.C.
Since 2005, Michael Ericksen has volunteered to coach 15 different teams within the Henderson County Soccer Association. As a teacher during the day, he devotes much of his time to teaching youth, both in the classroom and on the field. He is one of the most reliable rec coaches year after year. Though he’s never had a child of his own on a team, Michael is always willing to step in and coach the game he loves.
Region IV – Jesus Cardenas – Seattle, Wash.
In one of the most diverse communities in the country, Jesus Cardenas coaches many different players, with the help of volunteers, on seven different teams. His enthusiasm and willingness to work with all children, no matter their background, has made him a key part of uniting the community through soccer. His philosophy is that the best teacher is the game itself, and he works to give kids as many chances to play as possible.
Girls Recreation Coach of the Year regional award winners:
Region I – Chris Thomas – Ithaca, N.Y.
Chris Thomas encourages his players to try new things, move beyond their comfort zones and tap their inner "magic," rather than focusing on wins and losses. He brings a positive mindset to the field and emphasizes fair play. While coaching two U-10 teams and two U-12 teams, Chris is always teaching. He tries to tailor his coaching to each individual and can relate to any young player who wants to learn more about the game.
Region II – Eric Wallin – Lexington, Ky.
Having fun and keeping a positive attitude are the main objectives for Eric Wallin’s teams, but he also helps his players improve their soccer skills along the way. He encourages players to participate in camps and practice on their own. During games, Eric makes sure each player gets her fair share of time on the field, and he always promotes good sportsmanship toward the opposing team and officials to make sure everyone enjoys the game.
Region III – Paul Kinser – Greensboro, N.C.
The calm and positive demeanor that Paul Kinser brings to his team at Greensboro United makes the game enjoyable for his players. He emphasizes that soccer should be fun, and the atmosphere around his team has helped players develop great friendships with their teammates. His coaching style makes every player feel comfortable, helping them gain self-confidence and develop an appreciation and passion for the game that keeps them involved with soccer.
Region IV – Chris Twombley – Seattle, Wash.
Any player looking to get in the game can find a welcoming home on Chris Twombley’s team at West Seattle Soccer Club. Twombley communicates well with his players and provides a positive energy. He uses soccer to teach lessons and build character, and acts as a role model for his players to follow. Off the field, Chris is always offering to help and volunteer in any way the club may need.  
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


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