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Longtime Hudson Valley Soccer Coach Honored

George Souls (back-center) with his soccer team, the Shrub Oak Shamrocks
George Souls (back-center) with his soccer team, the Shrub Oak Shamrocks Photo Credit: Contributed

George Souls has always put his kids first.

Souls, who has coached soccer in Yorktown for 37 years, was named Personality of the Month in December by the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association. Souls has coached nearly 30 teams and was inducted into the East Hudson Youth Soccer League Hall of Fame in 2009.

"It was quite the honor," Souls said. "I was very surprised."

The soccer bug bit Souls when his son started playing. Initially helping out the coach, Souls took over when he left and was hooked. He has coached more than 500 boys and girls, including his son, daughter, and granddaughter.

"I want to win, but the reaction of the kids is more important," Souls said. "I want them to do their best and have fun. Even if they haven't had personal or team excellence, if they've enjoyed their experience, I know I've been successful."

Some of Souls' players have gone on to become high school and college soccer coaches. He said he really enjoys when he sees players develop and reach their full potential.

"It's great when you see a kid who is an okay player and you really get the spark going," Souls said. "You watch them become an exceptional player."

Soccer really teaches kids the values of teamwork, Souls said.

"You can have two individuals who are elite, but they have to work with the rest of the team," Souls said. "You cannot be successful unless there's togetherness."

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