KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Dec. 8, 2023) – Each year at the United Soccer Coaches Convention, the association recognizes a select few for their special contributions to the sport and the association’s membership. This year, five individuals will be presented Letters of Commendation at the Awards Banquet on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024, as part of the 84th annual Convention in Anaheim, Calif.

The United Soccer Coaches Letter of Commendation is presented to a recipient for their service to, impact on, and/or positive influence on the association and/or the game of soccer in the United States. This year’s five recipients are:


    • John De Witt, Houston, Texas
    • Chris Handy, Perkinston, Miss.
    • Scott Oliver, Adrian, Mich.
    • John B. Orozco, Toledo, Ohio
    • Deborah Raber, North Adams, Mass.

John De Witt

A member since 1987, De Witt has been heavily involved in service to the association over the years. He has coached at the collegiate, professional and international levels, and is currently Athletic Director for Applied Sports Science at Rice University in addition to owning a High Performance consultancy. De Witt first became involved with the convention as the Meal & Social Function Coordinator on the Convention Committee. He has always been willing to help the association from something as menial as taking tickets at a banquet room door to conducting a lecture on cutting edge analysis of performance data of world class athletes.

Chris Handy

A member since 2007, Chris has been the Junior College Men’s Scholar All-America National Chair since its inception in 2013. Under his guidance, the Junior College Men’s Scholar All-America program has risen to prominence and has grown exponentially each year. The head men’s coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Handy’s teams have won 10 or more games in eight of the last 10 campaigns, compiling a 121-61-12 record during his tenure in Perkinston. He also served previously on the Junior College Men’s All-America Committee under his former Tyler Junior College head coach and Bill Jeffrey Award recipient Steve Clements.

Scott Oliver

A member of United Soccer Coaches since 1998, Scott Oliver has served the association with distinction. Oliver, the women’s coach at Siena Heights University (Mich.), is the National Chair of two committees–the NAIA Women’s All-America and NAIA Women Staff of the Year. He has chaired these important committees for nearly two decades while also serving as Siena Heights’ assistant director of athletics and its sports information director. He is a Past President of the NAIA Women’s Coaches Association and served as an NAIA Women’s National Tournament Committee member.

John B. Orozco

A member of the association since 1998, Orozco has served as the head coach at Toledo Christian School, Sylvania Southview High School and began his career at St. Francis de Sales in Toledo, Ohio. He has volunteered in many areas of the national convention but has been a mainstay as a member of the team that makes sure rooms are ready for meals, socials and receptions before the doors open.  Orozco is always diligent about checking badge and ticket access to events, and helps with seating. In Ohio, he serves as the President for the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association (OSSCA), the largest state membership in United Soccer Coaches and a important partner organization. Previously, Orozco has received the Certificate of Appreciation and was the 2022 Award of Excellence recipient from the Faith-Based Coaches Community Group.

Deborah Raber

A member since 1995, Raber is active with the association in both the awards and coaching education areas. She is the Women’s Senior College Scholar All-America National Chair.  Raber has been a long-time member of the association’s Coaching Education staff, teaching courses, serving as convention clinician and making international trips for education. The 2021 recipient of the Mike Berticelli Excellence in Coaching Education Award, she also has served as a 30 Under 30 mentor.  The women’s head coach at Masschusetts College of Liberal Arts, Raber is also the school’s Fitness Center Director and Strength and Conditioning Coach for all MCLA athletic teams.