SOLANA BEACH — Acknowledging it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game, the Solana Beach Soccer Club honored two players and a coach with the Peter Schmid Sportsmanship Award during the annual board of directors meeting Feb. 11 at Skyline Elementary School.
The award was established by Anthony and Amanda Schmid in honor of their son to foster his love of soccer until his untimely death.
Recipients are recognized for their citizenship, helpfulness, attitude and loyalty on and off the field.
Coach Mike Husted recognized Alex Borthwick, from the under-12 division, “because she always brought a smile.”
“She wore it every time,” Husted said. “Every practice, every game, she was always the same — happy, cheering, pumping her teammates up. She just has an infectious, positive attitude.”
First-time coach Sam Rodarte couldn’t hold back tears as she presented the award to Gianna Brook, an under-10 player.
“Although she is new to soccer, in our very first game of the season she exhibited great valor,” Rodarte said. “When most of her teammates — and I’m not kidding — refused to play — really, they would not get on the field – because they were tired and hot and there was absolutely no chance of us winning, Gianna was willing to give it a go in spite of her trepidation.
“Throughout the season, some opponents were a bit rough and pushy with her, but she always kept her composure and had a positive attitude,” Rodarte added. “Her ability to understand that soccer is just a game not to be taken too seriously surpassed that of many parents.”
Jeff Lyle, club president, said coaches typically are not recognized, but this year an exception was made following requests from parents and players.
Tommy Hernandez was honored for his “years of coaching and all the players whose lives you’ve touched,” Lyle said.
“Over the years we’ve learned that he loves the sport,” said Eric Terrill, whose son Matty played on Hernandez’s all-star team. “But he really loves the kids more. When someone is out there in the cold at 7 a.m., that’s not for the love of the game.”
Matty Terrill said he asked his teammates to describe Hernandez in one word.
“Encouraging, competitive, dedicated and positive” is what many said.
“He’s one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever known,” Nic Baum, also an all-star player, said. “He has a killer coaching style. He’s competitive and fun and always pushes us to the limit.”
His teammate Shane Flannery said his first impression was that the coach was crazy because he made the players run, scrimmage and run some more.
“We had a lot of ups and downs,” Hernandez said of his team. “But you guys persevered. It was tough subbing you out because everyone wanted to always play. I loved hanging out with you guys.”
The club pays for one post-season tournament, but Hernandez got the parents onboard for two additional contests.
Each time he learned about a new event, there was only one open spot, coincidentally in his team’s age division.
“It was destiny,” Hernandez said. In both additional tournaments the team came in second to Vista.
The Solana Beach Soccer Club is an all-volunteer organization that serves about 525 players from kindergarten through 10th grade on 40 teams with approximately 75 coaches.