Four men who played vital roles in the growth of soccer in the state make up the inaugural induction class of the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame
Tony Ansems, Dan Harris, Willi Wessels and Richard Williams will be honored at the first WSCA Hall of Fame banquet on Feb. 21 at the Bavarian Inn in Milwaukee.
Here's more on the four inductees, all of whom also are members of the Wisconsin Soccer Association Hall of Fame:
A native of The Netherlands, Ansems moved to the Fox Valley in 1964 and was a driving force in the sport in that area. He started two clubs and coached at UW-Fox Valley in Menasha, Lawrence University in Appleton and Oshkosh Lourdes High School. Ansems was one of the first 100 coaches in the country to earn a U.S. Soccer Federation "B" coaching license and, along with fellow inductee Dan Harris, created the WSCA in 1972. In addition to coaching, he also was a licensed youth and adult referee with the WSA, the WIAA and the NCAA and was a longtime WSA Board member.
The first coach for the UW-Milwaukee's men's program, Harris has an impressive coaching resume than spans from the mid-1960s to the early 1990s. Harris, who played soccer at Connecticut, was an assistant and JV and freshman coach at Air Force, then compiled a 108-68-12 record in 12 years at UWM. The Panthers made the NCAA tournament in 1979-80 — the first appearance was the school's first NCAA berth in any sport — and Harris coached 12 players who would go on to professional careers, including two men who went on to lead teams to NCAA titles: former University of Wisconsin coach Jim Launder and Sasho Cirovski, who won his second championship at Maryland last month. Harris, a two-time NSCAA Midwest Region Coach of the Year while at UWM, later led the Concordia men's team to five Lake Michigan Conference titles in a seven-year tenure. Harris also has been the athletic director at UW-Milwaukee, Concordia and currently holds that position at MSOE.
Wessels started his coaching career in 1974 with Milwaukee's Bavarian SC after playing for the club for 17 years, leading first the club's Under-16 side and then its Major Division team. He also coached the boys team at Whitefish Bay High School, leading the Blue Dukes to the title at the Milwaukee Invitational Tournament — the unofficial state tournament before the WIAA sponsored soccer — and the first two WIAA state titles in 1981-82. Wessels' final season at Whitefish Bay was 1986, and he spent the next 10 years coaching successful youth teams at Bavarian SC.
The Antigo native coached at Milwaukee Custer for 23 years and helped oversee the state's first public school league (boys in 1969-70, girls in 1980) and the Milwaukee Invitational Tournament, which ran from 1974-80. Williams, who also is a member of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association Hall of Fame for his efforts in amateur soccer, was a charter member of the WSCA and served on its board for 17 years, including a decade as president. He also worked with the Wisconsin Masonic Lodge to establish the annual Senior High School All-Star Games in 1992.
Tag(s): Coaches' Corner