Lansing at Large: Youth Soccer stalwart named Coach of the Year


Steve Smith has two daughters. Hailey is 13 years old and Hannah is 11. Both girls dance competitively at The Next Jennaration dance studio.

Steve is their “prop dad,” charged with obtaining, storing, and managing the many props the dance teams need for their competitions.

For a lot of dads, that would be a fairly full plate.

Steve Smith also has a son. Tyler is 10 and plays basketball, baseball, travel hockey, and, especially, soccer.

Steve helps coach the basketball and baseball teams, and he is “just a regular travel hockey parent.”

That is a very full plate.

But Steve Smith is also a linchpin of the Lansing Soccer Club, coaching multiple teams with players from kindergarten through sixth grade, and making sure that their games don’t conflict with Rec League Soccer, travel hockey, baseball, or basketball.

And that’s why he was named New York State West Youth Soccer Association 2018 Boys Recreation Coach of the Year.

“I grew up in Clifton Park and I’ve played soccer all my life,” Steve said. “I wasn’t good enough to play varsity in high school, but I played intramural soccer at Geneseo and until about four years ago.”

That was about when Tyler got serious about sports.

“I wanted to give him opportunities to play and I just got more and more involved,” Steve said. “Coach Heck helped me as he transitioned to coaching a younger group. He passed away at the end of that summer and that was my motivation.”

Lansing Girls Varsity Coach Eric Stickel wrote a letter recommending Steve for the award:

“…we are a small rural town about 10 minutes outside of Ithaca, New York. We have and continue to take a “grassroots” approach to coaching our youth as we rely heavily on parent volunteers to help coach our teams. Coach Smith has continued to be the “go-to” parent whenever we need a coach or volunteer. I should mention that he does this all while taking care of his own three kids.”

Coach Smith has coached in the Lansing Soccer Club for two years, in both the Spring and Fall Broome County Soccer League and is currently coaching in the 2018-2019 season. He has also been coaching with our local recreation department since 2012 and this season is helping with the fifth and sixth grade. Additionally, Coach Smith helps organize and run our Friday evening soccer during the winter months for Kindergarteners through sixth graders.”

It’s all good for Steve.

“My son has been in the same group of boys all along and I’ve watched him grow up playing the different sports,” Steve said. “We’ve gotten to know so many great families and seen how they support their kids.”

Tyler is a manager and ball boy for the Lansing Boys Varsity Soccer team. He traveled with the squad as they drove to a state championship last year.

“It was great for him to see how hard they work – all the players on the team,” Steve said. “To see kids grow up to play at that level.”

Steve’s focus is to continue that record of success.

“Our philosophy is that we need 11 kids on the field to play and, to have that, we need at least 15 players on the team. It’s not that we need to win; it’s that we need to develop those 15 players.”

Jason Ouellette is President of the Lansing Soccer Club and also wrote a letter in support of Steve.

“His ability to communicate and motivate the kids made him one of the most desired coaches in this program. The kids want to come back each year as their love for soccer grows and their abilities improve. Many would continue to the club level as he instilled self-confidence in many of the kids he coached.”

“As a Dad, the best recommendation I could have for a coach is I want my son to play for him. Not because they win most of the time but because he supports teachings that will make my son a better person.”

“This award is super humbling for me,” Steve said. “In a community like this, where there are so many people who give back.”

Library Program Addresses Immigration
The Lansing Community Library will present “Our Broken Immigration System and How to Fix It” with Cornell Law Professor of Immigration Practice Stephen Yale-Loehr on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.

Immigration is at the forefront of U.S. politics. President Trump has called for building walls, imposing bans on Muslim immigrants, and restricting legal immigration.

Does immigration help or hurt America? Professor Yale-Loehr will explain why our current immigration system doesn’t work and what you can do to help fix it.

Food Bank
The Lansing Food Pantry will be open Monday, Oct. 22, from 1 to 3 p.m. at The Rink, 1767 East Shore Drive. For more information, please contact Nancy Myers at 607 592 4685.


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