Eclipse Soccer Club coach honored by U.S. Youth Soccer
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Eclipse Soccer Club coach Reed Thomas was honored this week by U.S. Youth Soccer, receiving the regional award for the West Boys Competitive Coach of the Year. Thomas currently coaches the 2003-2004 Eclipse boys soccer team.
Thomas has been a part of Eclipse S.C. for many seasons, both as a player and as a coach. Thomas has been able to take the lessons he learned on the pitch and took them to the sidelines.
“For me to transition to a coach and be recognized for this award, it actually means a lot more than being a player,” said Thomas on getting recognized by U.S. Youth Soccer. “I can take what I learned and what I was shown and translate that to the players and coaching now.”
At the high school level, Thomas played for Lathrop, representing the Purple and Gold for many seasons. He’s had the experience now to see his athletes in the same position he once filled. Thomas coaches high school students that share same passion for the sport he loves.
“So coming up with that compromise of being patient and understanding where they’re at in life I think has been a huge asset for learning as a coach.” said Thomas on what he has learned as a coach for Eclipse.
Thomas went from learning under Howard Maxwell, to coaching alongside him in the Eclipse program. Maxwell, the Director of Coaching, saw Thomas grow before his eyes. Maxwell spoke about Thomas’ passion for the game and for coaching and that he was an important piece to the soccer club in Fairbanks.
“He’s mature beyond his years and he’s a local boy and we love that,” said Maxwell. “He played keeper for Lathrop, and he’s a Lathrop alum. He played for our club and now he became a coach. He’s just given a lot and he’s very passionate about the game. So it means a lot him and it means a lot to the Eclipse Soccer Club.”
Thomas was a dominant goalie for the Malemutes, and it all culminated in the 2018 Alaska state tournament when he helped Lathrop to a first round upset over the defending state champions in the South Anchorage Wolverines. He led the team to a third place finish and was named to the All-Tournament team. From there, he was signed in July of that year to the Alaska City Football Club, a semi-professional soccer in Alaska.
“It’s very common that keepers become coaches. Why do they become coaches? They have to think a lot, they have to communicate,” said Maxwell on why some goalkeepers become coaches. “They have to understand the game. They see the whole game from their position. Probably the only place on the pitch where you see the entire game no matter what.”
The national winners will be recognized at the 2021 U.S. Youth Soccer Awards in January next year.
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