Two Wisconsinites received prestigious national awards for their work in soccer Friday night in Los Angeles, one for excellence in the beginning stages of his career and the other for her many contributions to the sport.
Delavan's Philip Meersman was honored as the 2016 Male Young Referee of the Year at the U.S. Youth Soccer Awards Gala at the JW Marriott Los Angeles, an event held in conjunction with the 70th annual National Soccer Coaches Association of America Convention.
Meersman, who previously was named the Region II Male Young Referee of the Year and was one of four finalists for the national award, has officiated matches in the Wisconsin State Championships, the Midwest Regional League and at the Region II Olympic Development Program camp. “Curiosity" and "humility” are a couple of the words that were used to describe Meersman by one of his referee mentors.
The center back completed his prep playing career at Elkhorn High School last fall by helping the Elks advance to the WIAA Division 2 state final for the first time in program history, and was a second-team, All-Southern Lakes Conference pick.
Meersman also excels academically, as he is a semifinalist for the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program – that group includes more than 300 students from Wisconsin and 16,000 students nationwide, a pool that represents less than 1 percent of high school seniors.
As a referee, Meersman is following in his father's footsteps: Jonathan Meersman is the U.S. Youth Soccer Region II Referee Director and is a national instructor for the U.S. Soccer Federation's National Referee Program.
Meanwhile, Neenah SC president Marti Coan was in excellent company as she received a Letter of Commendation at the NSCAA awards banquet, which was held concurrently in another ballroom at the JW Marriott Los Angeles.
The award honors individuals who have served the sport, the coaching profession, the NSCAA and have promoted player development.
Coan has been on the Neenah SC Board of Directors for the past 18 years, serving as president since 2010, is vice president of the East Central Soccer District, has a lengthy resume as a club, high school and college coach and has been a panelist and presenter for multiple NSCAA events.
Among this year's other five Letter of Commendation recipients were current and former U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid, who each have won multiple Major League Soccer and NCAA College Cup championships during their extraordinary coaching careers.