WEST ORANGE, NJ - On Friday, January 4, the 25th Annual New Jersey Youth Soccer Awards were held at the Pines Manor in Edison, New Jersey. The event was attended by hundreds of soccer players, coaches, and supporters throughout the state and featured the induction of Olympians Heather O'Reilly, Carli Lloyd, Christie Rampone, and Jillian Loyden in to the Hall of Fame. Coaches and teams were also recognized for their efforts on behalf of the sport, and scholarships were given out to graduating players. Lou Mignone, West Orange High School Varsity Girls Soccer Coach and Director of Coaching and Player Development for the West Orange United FC and Mountain Top League Soccer, received the prestigious Bob McNulty Coach of the Year Award.
The evening opened with the induction of O'Reilly, Lloyd, Rampone, and Loyden into the Hall of Fame. Between the four women, they share multiple Olympic Gold Medals, National, and World Cup Championships. The women encouraged the players in the audience to work hard, and to remember that 'dreams happen when no one is watching'. They all spoke highly of New Jersey as a 'great soccer state' and shared their memories of playing, thanking their coaches and parents as well. According to the New Jersey Youth Soccer Handbook, there are approximately 170,000 registered Soccer players and 30,000 registered coaches in 400 soccer clubs across the state of New Jersey. Although New Jersey is the 3rd smallest state in physical size, it is the 3rd largest state in the number of registered players participating in youth soccer.
Coach Mignone was then called up to receive his Coach of the Year Award. He brought his two sons, Lou and Joey, to the stage with him to receive his award. The boys excitedly stood with their Dad and said they were 'happy to see Dad get the award'. Mignone said it was 'an amazing feeling to receive this award. I could not have accomplished this without the support of my family, other coaches, and players that put so much into the game.'
Several members of the Mountaintop League were on hand to celebrate and support Coach Mignone, including MTL President Brad Palent, Vice President Pete Scalora, and Secretary and Treasurer Anne Sophie Whitehead. Former President Steve Quirk, traveling soccer trustees, and spouses, who have all become like family in supporting Soccer and the Mountaintop League in West Orange, were happy to see Coach Mignone receive his award, along with Mignone's parents, wife, and children.
Lou Mignone is a lifelong West Orange resident. He is a Detective with the West Orange Police Department and has been a Police Officer for over 25 years. His is the Coordinator of DVRT (Domestic Violence Response Team) and an Instructor at the Essex County College Police Academy, as well as an Adjunct Professor at Union County College.
Mignone graduated from WOHS in 1986 and received a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice from Thomas Edison State College and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Excelsior College.
He holds several Soccer licenses: Soccer Coaching Education, National “A” License; United States Soccer Federation, National Youth License; United States Soccer Federation, Premier Diploma; National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Director of Coaching Diploma; and National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Mignone has worked in the West Orange youth Soccer coaching community since 1987, working under the tutelage of Ferdinando deMatthaeis, a former New York Cosmos star. In addition to his current positions as the Varsity Head Coach for the West Orange High School Girls Soccer Team and the Director of Coaching and Player Development for the West Orange United FC and Mountain Top League Soccer, he was selected by New Jersey Youth Soccer to address the youth soccer coaching community as a lecturer at the annual Soccer Expo. His presentation was titled "Player Development Over Winning for Youth Soccer. He has also had two articles published this year: The Car Ride Home was published on the US Youth Soccer Website and on the US Youth Soccer Coaches Connection. The Substitute Coach was published in the November/December issue of Soccer Journal.
The Mountain Top League is a volunteer organization which serves the children of West Orange, NJ since it was founded in 1959. It remains the largest youth organization in West Orange. We provide recreational programs for children of all levels in Baseball, Basketball, and In-House Soccer under the Mountain Top League banner. United Soccer Club, our Traveling Soccer club, offers competitive soccer for our advanced players. For more information on Mountaintop League, visit their website at http://www.mountaintopleague.com.