Recently I was fortunate enough to connect with soccer enthusiast, blogger and founder of the Dream|Start Soccer blog Joe Howard. Joe is the Editor in Chief of Dream|Start, leading a team of soccer bloggers who are essentially pouring fuel on the small (but growing) fire of American soccer passion as it sweeps throughout the nation.
They’re not only writing about the soccer scenes in America and abroad for current soccer fans, they are deftly making the beautiful game more accessible to an uninitiated American audience who is poised to become the next generation of rabid soccer fans. And if that weren’t enough, they’ve thrown down the gauntlet for both the avid fans and uninitiated alike: “Be a supporter ALL THE TIME, not just every four years… [be part of] changing the game forever in the States.”
Lucky for us at Midwest Soccer, they’ll be generously sharing some of their content here. So from time to time you’ll see their awesome work gracing our site. Of course that shouldn’t stop you from bookmarking the Dream|Start Soccer blog and/or signing up for their email list.
Regardless of how (or where) America’s love affair with the beautiful game ignites and burns, you’ll find the Dream|Start crew at the base of the fire fanning the flames of revolution.
As I begin preparing for the 2015 soccer year back in my home state I can’t help but feel something still resonating from the recent USASA Mid Year conference a few weeks ago. As usual it was quite a jam-packed weekend. It was filled with workshops, formal meetings and, of course, some of the most important encounters of all being those in the hallways, at the social events and informal meetings. In any setting, getting real face time with friends and colleagues from around the country can be truly invaluable. However one of the truly special events of the weekend, the USASA Hall of Fame dinner, brings us together to celebrate and honor the amazing people who have made such a dramatic contribution to our soccer community. With each passing conference I can’t help but be drawn further into the biographies of the inductees, truly feeling the emotional impact as they tell their own story. The weight of their accomplishments is almost crushing in the sense that upon reflection I feel so small, my contribution being so insignificant, and that almost every soccer aspect of the world around me that I’ve perhaps taken for granted for the past 35+ years exists because of what they’ve built.
It becomes clearer to me with each passing year that we are truly standing on the shoulders of giants.
The 2014 USASA Hall of Fame inductees are: Alphonse Amato, Tony Briggs McGee, Richard Groff, Paul Sherer, Hank Steinbrecher
Midwest Soccer and the entire USASA family were privileged to honor Julie Ilacqua this past weekend at the USASA Midyear Meeting. Her accomplishments and dedication to the game are astounding, and we get the sense that there is much more to come.
Julie is the former Managing Director of Referee Programs for the United States Soccer Federation. In this position she was responsible for the overall management of the Referee Department for US Soccer until her retirement in 2008.
Julie worked for World Cup 94 at the Detroit venue from 1992-1994 and was a member of the Bid Committee, helping to bring World Cup to the Pontiac Silverdome.
Among the boards she has served on are the Michigan Bid Committee Foundation, NASO Board of Directors (including a year as Chair) and the United States Soccer Federation Board of Directors.
As a referee Julie was the first female to officiate an intercollegiate national championship, but she is genuinely most proud of the heights to which the female referees of US Soccer have worked internationally.
Julie also served on the National Referee Committee, including time as chair of that committee, before she took the position with the United States Soccer Federation.
We are so proud of Julie and we continue to be extremely grateful and deeply inspired by her accomplishments and contributions to the beautiful game.
We recently had the privilege to recognize and honor this extremely gifted man. The coach of RWB Adria since 2007, Sinisa Alebic turned the Chicago side into a national powerhouse.
Over the past few years RWB Adria represented Region II at national competitions in all three divisions, Open, Amateur and Over-30.
Sinisa’s in-state record speaks for itself: 2007-2012 National League Champions and 2008-2013 NSL Coach of the Year; 2008, 2009, 2011-2014 Indoor NSL Champions; 2010 and 2013 Illinois State Cup Champions.
His record at nationals is impressive as well. He’s lead Adria to championships in the National Cups Open Division, the 2014 National Amateur Championship and the Croatian National Soccer Tournament. He’s also coached Adria in the Lamar Hunt Open Cup.
Congratulations to Sinisa Alebic for all of your hard earned successes. Your dedication and work ethic are a true inspiration. The Midwest Soccer family is so proud to have you in our community.