This weekend at the most prominent soccer convention in the United States, hosted by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), Sounders Women Assistant Coach, Zahra Lechak, was named U.S. Youth Soccer Coach of the Year for girls youth soccer. Lechak was previously awarded the top honor for the Far West Region of youth soccer for her work with Seattle United, Washington Youth Soccer, and the Seattle Sounders Women.
Hilary Kennedy, host of The US Youth Soccer Show, set the stage for the night as the master of ceremonies for the more than 1,000 in attendance. Boys and Girls Recreation Coaches of the Year, Young Referee of the Year, Administrator of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Goal and Save of the Year, TOPSoccer Buddy of the Year and the Dr. Thomas Fleck Award were also presented during the Gala, and the US Youth Soccer Hall of Fame inductees were honored, as well.
Development is the main objective for Lechak when it comes to her players. She’s guided several teams and many players to reach and extend their potential, and has led multiple teams at DOS FC and Seattle United to Washington State Cup finals, semifinals and quarterfinals. A talented player at UConn, Lechak now has her USSF ‘A’ License and has worked on the Region IV ODP staff, as well as with the Seattle Sounders.
On the field, Minos Vlamakis helped his Raiders FC team to State Cup, Region II Championship and National League titles, and they were 2013 US Youth Soccer National Finalists. Off the field, Minos personally spoke with academic counselors and held study tables on trips, to ensure his players kept up with academics and remained on track for graduation. He’s also organized an annual charity game to raise money for cancer patients.
Recipients of the Competitive Coach of the Year awards are selected by the US Youth Soccer Board of Directors on the basis of sportsmanship, player development, personal coaching development and community involvement (citizenship).
These coaches have committed to continued education and self-sacrifice to give back to the sport they love with the hope that they might enhance one of their players abilities and quality of life. By promoting teamwork, discipline, fitness and fair play these coaches are making a difference.