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Soccer club honors players for sportsmanship

SOLANA BEACH — Athletes are often rewarded for their on-field performance, especially when their efforts result in a winning season.
With the Peter Schmid Sportsmanship Award, the Solana Beach Soccer Club takes it one step further, recognizing players who contribute to the success of their team despite their athleticism or skill level.
During the club’s annual board of directors meeting Feb. 8 at Solana Vista Elementary School, eight individual athletes and, for the first time, an entire team were honored for their citizenship, helpfulness, attitude and loyalty on and off the field.
The award was established by Anthony and Amanda Schmid to honor their son and continue to foster his love of soccer following his untimely death.
Coaches are encouraged to nominate one player who demonstrates good sportsmanship. Recipients are chosen by the board of directors.
Awards for the 2010 season went to Daisy Aguilar, Ellie Auerbach, Robert Bednar, Paul Criado, Kaitlin Kay, Keana Oldham, Rileigh Sullivan and Hannah Wagner, as well as the under-10 Maroon Mangos that included Gabriella Andreoli, Jenna Dushman, Nina Fazio, Aubrey Filler, Vivi Husted, Eryn Kargman, Sidney Mayo, Lauren McFarlane, Corryn Newman-Boulie, Katie Pruden, Christine Sloss and Karli Stults.
Michael Husted, who has coached youth soccer for seven years, said he nominated his team of mostly third-graders — who were playing in a third- and fourth-grade division — for supporting one another, displaying team loyalty and sportsmanship, especially during one game when they were “confronted by a bully.”
While most coaches praised the players for their the ability to consistently encourage and inspire their teammates, Steve Bednar provided the evening’s most poignant moment when he presented the award to his son, Robert.
Shortly after he committed to coach his son’s team, Robert was diagnosed with leukemia. Despite heavy doses of chemotherapy, Robert played in the last four games of the season, mostly as goalkeeper. “He showed exceptional courage,” Bednar said.