Suffield High School Soccer Coach Mark Beigel has already scored a Regional (New England) Coach of the Year designation from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. This Friday he will see if he takes the top honor of National Coach of the Year at an awards ceremony in Indianapolis.
Beigel and his coaching staff took the high school team to the Class M boys soccer finals this Fall bringing home the championship for the second time in a row and eighth time overall.
According to sophomore player David Beiderman, it’s Beigel’s dedication and philosophy on teamwork that makes all the difference.
“He’s more than a coach,” Beiderman explained. “Suffield soccer holds a special place in his heart... there are two things he emphasizes: trust and family - and he thinks of the team as a family.”
Beigel is known as an emotional coach, with pre-game speeches that inspire greatness.
“I’ve learned that a good work ethic pays off,” said Beiderman. “That it’s important to build relationships with people and a part of something where everyone is on board.”
“It’s also the conditioning,” Beiderman added. “We run a lot. You can really see it during times like the last two games that went into overtime. We had the endurance.”
Patch asked Beigel a few questions as he prepared to head to the conference for the Coach of the Year (COY) award. Here are some of his answers:
To start I would just like to say that I am so proud of this award. As an individual accomplishment it feels good, but my pride in the award is more of a community accomplishment. I don't see it as a “me” award. I see it as an “us” award. Mark Cervione and Mike Johnson, along with our new freshman coach, Charlie Faria, all put in just as much time and dedication as I do to this program. This award is just as much for them as for me. And it’s not just our coaching staff. It is about the whole community - the boosters, the Suffield Soccer Club and the parents. So many people give so much of their time to give these kids an opportunity to play and succeed in this great sport. The COY award is representative of the efforts and dedication of our entire soccer community.
What is your soccer background? Do you still play?
I play soccer as much as I can! I do still play in men's leagues and occasionally. I try to keep up with my players when we train. I have played all my life. I have been coaching at this level (Suffield only) for 10 years. Career stats are: 137-44-25.
I chose education as a career. I have been teaching for 12 years. I see coaching as another means of teaching. There are so many life values to learn as a member of a team. We take teaching these values very seriously. It goes way beyond 'just soccer.’
How do you inspire a player to be the best he can?
We really try to impress upon our players that they are a part of something bigger than the individual. It starts with the team, but it goes beyond that. There is a strong soccer tradition in Suffield. We talk frequently about both the privilege and responsibility involved in carrying on this tradition. Ultimately, our success has stemmed from getting individuals to believe in this tradition. As a result, players are inspired to contribute to their team and this tradition by striving to be the best that they can.
Would you like to mention your family?
I am married to Ilana and have three kids: a 9-year-old daughter, a 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. As any coach will tell you, every minute with your players is a minute away from your kids. And there are a lot of minutes spent coaching. Without my wife's support and her own hard work and sacrifices at home I would not be able to do what I really love to do.
When not at the high school or soccer field, where would we find you?
I would be with my family. And there would be a strong possibility that we would be on a soccer field! I coach my two girls also. Or playing in the woods. Or watching tv.