US Youth Soccer names rec honorees

Richard Brigante of Colchester, Vt., Tim Schwindt of McPherson, Kan., Lauren Acosta of Hubert, N.C., and Tom Makowski of Beaverton, Ore., have been named the regional winners of the 2011 US Youth Soccer Girls Recreation Coach of the Year awards.

The national Girls Recreation Coach of the Year will be announced at the US Youth Soccer Awards Gala on Friday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m., as part of the US Youth Soccer Workshop in Boston.

The Recreation Coach of the Year is awarded to a coach for his or her coaching activities, sportsmanship, player development, personal coaching development and citizenship on the recreational level.

Girls Recreation Coach of the Year regional winners:

Region I: Richard Brigante, Colchester, Vt.

No matter the result, Richard Brigante is consistent in his post-game message to his teams-each player receives specific, individual praise. This attention to player development has left a lasting impression on the 11 teams Brigante has coached in six years at Colchester Youth Soccer League. Brigante's kind, no nonsense style has helped shape successful under-10 teams who exude good sportsmanship and positive energy.

Region II: Tim Schwindt, McPherson, Kan.

In his 16 years as coach at McPherson Strikers Soccer Club, Tim Schwindt has coached range of skills and ages, from under-7 up to under-14 boys and girls. Schwindt never played soccer himself, but has invested time in learning the game and using his coaching skills from previous experience. Schwindt spends a great deal of time with his teams, not only coaching them but mentoring his players into adulthood.

Region III: Lauren Acosta, Hubert, N.C.

As a coach in the Swansboro Soccer Association, Lauren Acosta has seen the players on her team turnover year after year. The rotating roster has enabled numerous young girls to learn from Acosta's emphasis on teamwork, sportsmanship and dedication. Her commitment goes beyond teaching technical and tactical fundamentals. Acosta teaches her players to love the game and to play with passion and good sportsmanship.

Region IV: Tom Makowski, Beaverton, Ore.

Tom Makowski creates a family from Somerset West Soccer Club teams he coaches, encouraging participation from players' parents and siblings. In 15 years of coaching, Makowski has never been carded, a testament to the sportsmanship he teaches. As a youth coach spanning three decades, Makowski believes the three most important things any player brings to the game are attitude, effort and skill in that order.