The purpose of the PA West Youth Soccer Hall of Fame is to appropriately honor persons who have brought unusually significant recognition to PA West Youth Soccer, or have by their unusually successful service achieved significant accomplishments on behalf of PA West Youth Soccer, or by a significant act or contribution distinguished themselves as a former athlete, or as a significant and unusual supporter of PA West Youth Soccer.
Third Hall of Fame of Class Inducted
The third class of the PA West Soccer Youth Hall of Fame was inducted on Saturday, January 4, 2020 in Green Tree. The class recognized five individuals who played prominent roles in the development of PA West Soccer.
Adele Heder- Adel Heder has been visible along the touchlines in western PA for many years and in many capacities. He helped build the Kiski Area Soccer Club. He holds an USSF A License and helped PA West Soccer as a coaching instructor and ODP coach for many years. He was also a classic coach with a tenure that included his last Pittsburgh Strikers Girls team claiming the state championship every year from U12-U18.
Ron Hitchens- Ron Hitchens is our current West District Director serving on the PA West Soccer Youth Board since its creation in 1999. Prior to 1999 he was a member of the PA West Youth Soccer Board of Directors. He was instrumental in the development of the Sewickley Area Soccer Club and growing its Hotspurs classic program into a Classic Club. Hitchens was recognized for his contributions to the adult game with an induction into the PA West Soccer Adult Division Founders Club in 2000.
John Kowalski- John Kowalski has coached at every level of the game. In the youth game, se is currently with SCS United but has previous tenures with Beadling and the PA West Soccer ODP program. His time with the ODP program included guiding our U17 Boys team to a Region I ODP tournament title in 2003, the first by a PA West Soccer ODP team. He also helped inspire thousands of kids to begin playing soccer while coaching the Pittsburgh Spirit in the 1980s. The growth of that era laid the association’s foundation.
Delroy "Lucky" Russell- Delroy “Lucky” Russell had a long career coaching with Penns Forest Soccer Club and is currently with the Barbarians Futsal Club. Mr. Russell’s Penns Forest teams regularly earned spots in the State Cup semi-finals and finals with several teams advancing to the East Region regional championships. The Jamaica native has spent more than 20 years developing players in western PA.
Peggy Neason- Peggy Neason has worn a variety of hats for PA West Soccer. Youth Board member, Executive Board member, and State Referee Committee member are among the wide variety of positions she’s served. But you might find the hat she loved the best was TOPSoccer Chair. She is recognized as the Godmother of TOPSoccer in US Youth Soccer. It was her insistence to USYS leadership that led to the institution of this national program for kids with special needs. She was the recipient of the PA West Soccer Lifetime Achievement Award in January 2018 and a member of the US Youth Soccer
Hall of Fame.
Second Hall of Fame of Class Inducted
The second class of the PA West Soccer Youth Hall of Fame was inducted on Saturday, December 1, 2018 in Green Tree. The class recognized three individuals who played prominent roles in the development of PA West Soccer.
Gene Klein - Gene was PA West Soccer’s first Director of Coaching. He filled the role from the late-1980’s well into the 1990’s. He was a successful high school coach with Quaker Valley HS that included numerous appearances in the PIAA final and championships earning him a sport in the Western PA Sports Hall of Fame. He is currently a scout with US Soccer’s Development Academy.
Natalie Schwoeble - Natalie served as President of PA West Soccer from 2007-2014 before moving to her current post as East Region . She had previously filled a number of roles in the association’s Youth Division, including South District Director and Hearing and Appeals Chair on the Youth Board. Prior to serving PA West Soccer she was involved with the West Mifflin Soccer Club.
Denny Kohlmyer - Denny is the Director of the Beadling Soccer Club. His history with the game includes playing and coaching at a variety of levels. He has been involved in a number of important periods in Western PA soccer including time as the Youth Development Director with the Pittsburgh Spirit and the development of classic soccer in PA West Soccer. He has led numerous teams to state and regional titles, as well as trips to US Youth Soccer’s National Championships.
Inaugural Class of Hall of Fame Inductees - Photo Gallery
PA West Soccer Youth Division inducted its inaugural class to the PA West Soccer Hall of Fame on January 13, 2018. The class recognizes those who were crucial to the creation and growth of the state association during its 40 plus years.
Those comprising the inaugural class of the Youth Hall of Fame are:
Steve Beckmann – Steve Beckmann served as President of PA West Soccer’s Adult Division from 1994-2009. He was an originally part of the PA West Soccer Board of Directors when it was a youth state and assumed the role at the helm of the Adult Division when the joint state association was created. Beckmann was also an integral part of the formation and growth of the Dynamo Soccer Club.
Tom Beecher – Tom Beecher came to the PA West Soccer Board of Directors as Treasurer following time as President of Pittsburgh Strikers. He also served as interim Classic League Director and was a member at-large on the Youth Board. He remains an active referee and instructor.
Sam Cho – Sam Cho has served the game in a variety of referee roles. He was also a founding member of the Dynamo Soccer Club. Most recently he was a national assessor US Soccer.
Brandon James – Brandon James was President of PA West Soccer replacing June Stroop during her service as Region 1 Sub-Region Director from 1989-1990. He has also served as a referee instructor and assessor.
Stan Hunter – Stan Hunter served on the PA West Soccer Board of Directors first as the South-Member At Large and then the VP-Youth. He held the latter post from 1995 through 2010. He served as the Open Tournament director seeing it outgrow the fields at Slippery Rock necessitating the move to Edinboro from 1988-1993. He also served on the Constitution and Bylaw Committee creating the governing document that was approved in 1999. He still coaches and referees while holding a D License and grade 8 referee certification.
John Matter – John Matter served PA West Soccer in a variety of referee positions throughout his many years. He served as State Referee Administrator on two separate stints the most recent ending in 2012.
Larry Solomon – Larry Solomon was President of PA West Soccer Association from 1999-2007. Prior to becoming President, he served on the association Board of Directors from 1988. He was instrumental in the creation and growth of the Dynamo Soccer Club. He also served as PA West Soccer’s State Referee Administrator, was a referee instructor, assessor and assignor.
June Stroup – June Stroup was President of the PA West Soccer from 1980-1989 and from 1990-1997. She served two years as Region I Deputy Director. She was also active in Adult Soccer and is a member of the US Adult Soccer Hall of Fame.
John Wilcher – John Wilcher was one of the founding fathers of PA West Soccer and served as its first President from 1975 through 1980. He moved on to become the Region I Sub-regional Director. Following his tenure with Region I he returned to form the Lake District from what was a much larger West District. He served as its initial Director on the PA West Soccer Youth Board.