In the summer of 1982, I had returned to this area and saw an article in the Main Line Times for Gladwyne Soccer's upcoming Fall Intramural Program.
I decided to send them a letter and let them know that I would like to get involved in coaching a travel team with my old club.
I was contacted by Ed Hochreiter who was in charge of the soccer program and he set me up to coach the Under 10 boys team that fall.
Gladwyne Soccer Club was one of four local clubs back then. When I finished school and moved back to the area in 1982, Gladwyne Soccer Club was
still in operation, as were three other clubs in the area: Penn Valley Soccer Club, Wynnewood Soccer Club and Narberth Athletic Association.
Each of these four clubs were very small in numbers and would compete with each other to get players. Back in those days, the Delco Soccer League
only offered boys teams in even year age groups in the fall: Under 10, Under 12 and Under 14. Winter league teams would be formed at Under 16
and Under 19, after the high school seasons finished up. The girls Tri-County League barely existed in those days as girls soccer was not very
popular. Many years later, the league would change names to the Philadelphia Area Girls Soccer League, a.k.a. PAGS.
Tryouts for fall travel teams were held in late August and early September. They really weren't so much tryouts as meetings to see who was
interested in playing. At my first tryout, five players showed up for my new U-10 team. Ed Hochreiter assured me that more players would be
at the second tryout, scheduled for just after Labor Day Weekend. At the second tryout, a total of 15 players showed up. Included in the 15
players were seven underage players (including one player who was two years underage) and one girl. Back then, all age groups played full
sided 11 vs. 11 since small sided soccer did not exist yet. I took all 15 players on the team, meaning nobody got cut and nobody was
leftover to form a 'B' team.
After losing to Lansdowne and Radnor in our first two games, we finally got our first win, 5-2 over Narberth. Delco League games were
played on Saturdays with our home games played at Gladwyne Playground. Teams also played state cup games on Sundays. The big Columbus
Day weekend event back then was the Delco League Columbus Day Festival. It was not actually a tournament, but rather a "festival" which
meant that teams would play three games, but there were no standings or playoffs. It was just a chance to play against teams from
outside of the Delco League area.
When the season came to an end, we were 4-6. There was a post season all star game for the players in the league and a three of our
players were selected to play in that game in early December. That winter, our team was invited to play in a couple of friendly indoor
games against the Radnor U-10 team in a gym in Radnor Township. Playing in gyms was the only indoor soccer available to youth teams
at the time. There were no indoor soccer facilities. Aside from the occasional invitation to play against another team in a school
gymnasium, there was no indoor soccer.
In November 1982, I volunteered to help Ed Hochreiter coach his Under 16 team. This team had been together for several years and
consisted of the best sophomores in the township. The team played in Delco League's winter league which started play right after
the fall high school season ended. Home games were played at either Gladwyne Playground or at the Bryn Mawr Polo Field, between
December and May, when the fields weren't covered with snow. Today this could never happen as the Township and School District
shut down their fields for the winter in order to keep the fields from being ruined by the players.
Gladwyne Sports Association also ran a small intramural program in the fall. The games were played 11 players against 11 players.
Each division was co-ed and was comprised of players of players differing in age by as much as three years. There were no small sided
games and no girls divisions in the intramural program.
Everyone in the club was a volunteer. Nobody was paid for coaching, field crew work, administrative work, etc. The only people who
got paid were the referees. During my first 14 years with the club, I never made a penny for anything involving the club and didn't
even get reimbursed for most things.
Gladwyne Soccer was run by the Gladwyne Sports Association which also ran Gladwyne Baseball. In my second year coaching, I was
voted onto the Gladwyne SA Board of Directors and elected Vice President in charge of the intramural soccer program. Ed Hochreiter
continued to run the travel team program and was the driving force behind soccer in the Gladwyne Sports Association. The Gladwyne Sports
Association Board consisted of about 20 people. Some were baseball people, some were soccer people, most were parents who mainly had a
big interest in their child's sports. Having meetings involving 20 people caused a lot of problems and there would be numerous different
opinions on a wide range of issues.
Two significant events took place in 1984, my third year coaching at Gladwyne Soccer, that would significantly help make me a much better coach:
- In the fall of 1984, Ed Hochreiter encouraged me to sign up to earn a coaching license. My first reaction was "I don't need to
take a course in soccer since I have played all my life and I played at the college level." Ed explained to me that the coaching course
wasn't intended to teach the game of soccer but rather how to teach and coach soccer at the youth level. I agreed to take the 18 hour course.
It was by far the best move I ever made in my entire soccer career. By the time I had earned my 'E' level coaching license, I had a totally
different perspective on how to coach, how soccer programs should be structured, how soccer clubs should be organized, etc. I quickly
realized that my methodology for coaching was totally wrong. Before then, when coaching, I had simply imitated how my coaches had coached
the teams I played on. I quickly realized that the methodology was wrong and there were totally different ways that youth soccer coaching should be done.
- At the end of the fall season in 1984 I volunteered to be a head coach in the Delco League Select Program. This program ran in the
spring time. Tryouts were open to all interested players in the league. The top players from the Delco League were selected to play
together in spring tournaments against the top players from other leagues in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. I was
chosen to be the head coach for the boys Under 10 B team. The league selected Sam Holt, the head coach for the Radnor High School boys
varsity to coach the Under 10 A team. Like me, Sam was a former player at Harriton High School. I later learned that Sam scored the
first goal in the school's history. Working in the Delco Select Program with Sam was also one of the best things for my coaching career.
He knew the game well and saw the game from a totally different perspective than the "established coaches." I can't tell you how many times
over the next three years that Sam and I would talk about youth soccer, coaching methodology, player development, etc. Between my many talks
with Sam, my 'E' level coaching license course and the more extensive 36 hour 'D' license course I took in 1985, I was ready to try and change
how our club ran.