The Indian River Soccer Alumni Hall of Fame committee reviewed several quality recommendations, and narrowed it down to three inductees for the 2021 Hall of Fame class to be inducted in November.
Current Indian River High School assistant coach and River Soccer Club’s Technical Director for Coaching Brandt Mais is among the the three as well as Greg Gerken and Greg Forte, who will be going into the Hall of Fame posthumously.
Mais was a varsity starter throughout his high school career at Indian River High School from 2000-2003 having served as the team’s captain his senior year. During that year, Mais played defense helping the Indians to their first-ever Henlopen Athletic Conference championship. IR would finish the season second in the state tournament falling to state powerhouse Salesianum.
During his high school years, Mais earned himself 1st Team All-State and 1st Team All-Henlopen Conference honors as a senior in 2003. He was also selected to play in the 2003 Blue-White Senior All-Star Showcase game. In 2002, Mais was selected to the 3rd Team All-State as well as 1st Team All-Henlopen Conference, and in 2001 he earned himself 2nd Team All-Henlopen Conference recognition.
As a 7-year-old, Mais got into soccer by participating in the River Soccer Club’s recreation program, and also joined one of the club’s first travel teams. His travel team competed all across the state and region with some of the top-level teams. He also played for the Delaware Olympic Development Program (ODP) team from the age of 12 to 17. The ODP program is an all-star team the featured the best players in the state that competed against other state teams on the east coast.
Upon graduation from IR, Mais played four years at NCAA Division II’s Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. It was at that point that Mais started to take an interest in becoming a coach, and began volunteering at the River Soccer Club. Over the course of time, Mais has worked his way up to becoming the Technical Director for Coaching at RSC, while also serving as an assistant coach for the IR boys’ soccer team.
Since becoming an assistant at IR, the boys’ team has won three state championships, including their most recent title in 2020 when they defeated Newark Charter School, 2-1.
Mais’ coaching ventures don’t end there as he also serves as the Delaware Youth Soccer Association’s Education Director for Coaches. He has earned a “National B” Youth Coach’s License, and continues to coach the youth at River Soccer Club. Many people have noted how his dedication and enthusiasm are contagious amongst the kids, and he continues to mentor and develop soccer players of all ages.
Greg Forte attended Indian River High School, and graduated in June 1998. He was a four-year varsity soccer starter during his time at IR. In his four years with the program, Forte scored 45 goals to go along with 52 assists.
As a senior, Forte added 15 goals and 18 assists, and was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Player. His efforts earned him 1st Team All-Henlopen Conference honors, and he was also selected to the 1st Team All-State as well. He was selected to the 2nd Team All-State as a junior.
During his senior year, Forte would sign a letter-of-intent to play soccer at Mt. St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md. He wound up being a starter for all four years, and was ranked in the Top 10 in career assists for the Mountaineers’ team. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and communications, while minoring in English.
After college graduation, Forte returned to IRHS as an assistant coach, under then head coach Howard Gerken, and he would be on staff for two years. In that time, Forte was integral in helping lead the team to the Henlopen Athletic Conference South Division crown in 2002 as well as the Henlopen Athletic Conference in 2003. In those two years, IR also earned two state tournament berths. Additionally, he became the Director of Coaching for the MASC Makos in Ocean City, Md.
After his coaching stint at Indian River, Forte went on to serve as an assistant coach for the University of Delaware men’s soccer program. While at UD, he earned his Master’s degree in Education.
In the summer of 2003, Forte played professionally for the South Jersey Barons. His love for the game led him to play in Men’s Adult Leagues locally in Sussex County as well as in Ocean City, Md; South Jersey; Jacksonville, Florida; and Wilmington, N.C.
Gerken’s passion for soccer began when he was very small, and since that time it has been a huge part of his life. During high school soccer career at IR, Gerken was a varsity member under then head coach Duncan Smith, starting all four years as a midfielder and forward.
Gerken was a captain from his sophomore season through his senior year. He was selected 1st Team All-Conference and 1st Team All-State during his sophomore year. The Indians earned their way to the state tournament in the 1989 season, but lost in the semifinals. The most impressive note from that season, however, was that the Indians were the first-ever Henlopen Athletic Conference team to make the 16-team state tournament since the postseason tournament was adopted.
During his junior and senior seasons, Gerken was once against recognized for 1st Team All-Conference and 1st Team All-State. He was also named the IR team’s MVP in his senior season as well as the school’s Athlete of the Year for the 1991-92 school year. In his final season for the Indians, Gerken scored 13 goals to go along with 15 assists wrapping up his IR career with 39 goals and 50 assists.
Having been recruited to play collegiately at NCAA Division II’s West Chester University, Gerken went on to be a four-year starter for the Golden Rams having been named a team captain for three years as well as the team’s MVP in his junior and senior seasons. He was also recognized to the 2nd Team All-PSAC in 1993.
Upon graduating Summa Cum Laude from WCU, Gerken would teach English at Hightstown High School in New Jersey, spending two years as the school’s assistant boys’ coach as well as two years as its head coach. During that time, he would also coach camps and trained teams in both Delaware and New Jersey. He would also coach two years of New Jersey’s ODP and two years of Delaware’s ODP programs.
After Hightstown, Gerken moved to Severna Park High School in Maryland, where he would head the District Development program for ODP, plus trained players for various club teams in the area.
Back in Delaware after being away for five years, Gerken taught English at the Sanford School, a private school for co-ed students in Hockessin, Del. There he coached both boys’ and girls’ soccer teams serving as an assistant for two years and head coach for three years. His teams made it to two state tournaments. He would also coach the Concord Nitros Club team.
Gerken then took his coaching talents to the American School in London, England, where he spent two years as the school’s Athletic Director also going back to the classroom and spending one year coaching middle school soccer as well as three more as the head man of the school’s boys’ program. He would start the ODP program for the entire London District while across the pond.
He would eventually come back to the United States, and taught at the Webb School, a boarding high school in Claremont, Calif. While there he served as the assistant boys’ coach for two years, and was also the head boys’ soccer coach for five years. His teams made the California Independent Schools state tournament after achieving two undefeated seasons.