To all of our families and friends in Elkhorn Soccer Club --
The year was full of change and progress, both for me and the Elkhorn Soccer Club. My wife, Cymbre, and I made the decision to move to Elkhorn and dedicate ourselves to improving the lives of the children in this community. I was born in Omaha and raised in Bellevue, so I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to give back to the soccer community that had such a positive influence on my life. As teachers and coaches, giving back is just something Cymbre and I have always done.
Education, although oftentimes stressful and challenging, is the most rewarding profession in the world. Cymbre and I have watched hundreds of our students and players develop into amazing men and women over the last 15 years. This year brought us a perfect example of this, as one of my former players, Kyle Greig, signed a professional contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps of the MLS. Kyle, and many others like him, make this life we choose to live so very special. We grind and push every day in hopes that one day we can help children realize their dreams.
Executive Director Rob Herringer (right) with the Hive Plus Boys after a second place finish at Socctoberfest. It was the team's first experience in a competitive environment and saw them competing in the highest division at the tournament.
From a club perspective, our commitment to “Developing a Culture of Excellence” was evident in so many ways over the last 12 months. We continue to move forward, always forward, toward creating a true community of education, exploration and discovery through the sport of soccer. Thank you for taking part in this incredible journey with us. I am proud of what we accomplished this year and look forward to what 2017 has in store for us.
Some examples of the progress we have made at ESC, while also sharing some things that will take shape in 2017:
- For the first time in club history, three competitive teams reached the semi-final round of the NSSA State Cup. Two of those teams (2000G Ajax and 2001B Ajax) advanced to the final but came up just shy of winning state titles. Congratulations to Coaches Jon Shaad (‘00B), Eric McCulley (‘00G), Nedim Hasanbegovic (‘01B) and all of the players for representing our club with hard work, character and class. We are proud of you!
- Several of our teams won league and tournament championships.
The 2001 Boys Ajax celebrate a goal in the NSSA State Cup semifinal on October 29, 2016
- The club hosted the NSCAA National Diploma and Coerver® Youth Diploma coaching courses. We also brought in renowned coach educators, Jeff Tipping and Dr. Doug Williamson, for our annual coaching symposium.
- In addition, several coaches attended a 10-day educational tour of Scotland and England, which led to our international partnership with Glasgow Celtic FC and improvements to our club philosophy and curriculum.
- The club renewed its partnership with Coerver® Coaching, bringing proven, first-class curriculum and programming to all players and coaches in the Club.
- Coach Anne Schafer was named to the NSCAA “30 Under 30” program, recognizing the top 30 coaches in the country under 30 years-old. Coach Angie Snider, new to ESC, received this same recognition in 2013-14.
In 2016 we established a partnership with Celtic FC, providing our players with opportunities to learn from one of Europe's finest Academies. As part of this partnership, we have begun establishing a pathway to the professional level for our elite players.
- Through the support of our entire membership, the club made several improvements to our JPM Soccer Complex, including: fencing, turf improvements, sprinkler system repairs, shelters, additional parking, new training equipment and storage. In 2017, we will be adding fencing to the drop-off/pick-up areas of the north lot and installing a new pump system to prevent the flooding on the north side of the complex. We will also be making some much needed improvements to our Ta-Ha-Zouka Park(THZ).
- Through a partnership with Nebraska Elite Sports and Fitness (now Genesis Health Club), we have provided our competitive teams an indoor training space and access to sport performance trainers and programming during the winter months. Elite will also be home to our new Skills Schools.
- We have begun the process on exploring new facilities, continuing with our goal of providing the best training environment possible for our players. Details to come in 2017.
- In our goal to provide programming for players of all ages and abilities, we have added the following programs to our yearly calendar: Coerver® Performance Academies and summer camps, Celtic International Partner Camps, in-house futsal league, Hive + program, Skills Schools, sport performance training, goalkeeping and finishing academies and TOPSoccer.
- We will be adding a summer futsal league for high school girls in 2017, along with additional programming to be announced.
- Finally, we will be making some changes to our annual tournament. Information will be released to our members in early 2017.
Celtic Academy staff coach Michael McCahill with the high school age group during the Celtic Winter Academy in November 2016. An example of the programming we are proud to have added in 2016.
We obviously had a busy and productive year, but we continue to seek improvement and keep our eyes on the future. Some key areas for continued growth in 2017 will be:
- Further define, continue to embrace and model the club’s mission, vision, values and philosophy- our foundation
- Continue to recruit and retain the best coaches and staff for the holistic development of our children
- Expand and improve club curriculum, coach education and instruction across all age groups and programs
- Provide meaningful year-round learning opportunities for our children
- Develop college preparation programming for our high school players
Thank you for your continued support of the Elkhorn Soccer Club. See you on the pitch!
Rob Herringer, Executive Director