Gerken to be honored as DYSA TOPSoccer Coach of the Year


Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Howard Gerken, right-center, gathers with volunteers and players from River’s TOPSoccer program last spring.Coastal Point • Tyler Valliant: Howard Gerken, right-center, gathers with volunteers and players from River’s TOPSoccer program last spring.The Delaware Youth Soccer Association (DYSA) announced this week that long-time Indian River High School and River Soccer Club coach Howard Gerken will be honored this January as the DYSA TOPSoccer Coach of the Year.

“Howard is a leader in every sense of the word,” said River Soccer Club President Rebecca Mais. “He does it so smoothly you don’t even know what just happened and he’s got things done. But the greatest gift of all is Howard’s real caring and love of other people.”

TOPSoccer is short for “The Outreach Program for Soccer,” a program designed for players with special needs.

Not only did Gerken help pioneer that program but also the River Soccer Club as it’s known today, holding practices at area schools before the club found its home at the River Soccer complex along Gum Road near Frankford.

A former head coach for the Indians, Gerken currently serves on River’s Board of Directors while continuing to coach the TOPSoccer program at River and both the boys’ and girls’ varsity teams at IR.

Known around the club as the “Top Dog” and the “Godfather of Sussex County Soccer,” Gerken will be honored by the DYSA at a luncheon this January.

The date of the event had yet to be announced at Coastal Point press time on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Check back with the Coastal Point for the official date and time, and the full story on the award this winter.