KANSAS CITY, MO. (November 9, 2023) — United Soccer Coaches announced on Thursday the recipients of the association’s 2023 Long-Term Service awards for college, high school, and youth soccer. The awards are presented annually to members who have exhibited a career of contributions at their level of the sport and a continued commitment of service to the association. Becky Burleigh (College), Rudy Zimmermann (High School) and Amy Griffin (Youth) are this year’s honorees.“Congratulations to Amy Griffin, Rudy Zimmermann and Becky Burleigh for their Long-Term Service Awards for their contributions at the youth, high school and college levels respectively,” said Dr. David Carr, United Soccer Coaches President. “All are highly valued colleagues and we are honored to recognize their achievements and thank them for their dedication to United Soccer Coaches and the game.”The honorees will be presented their awards at the association’s annual United Soccer Coaches Awards Banquet on January 12, 2024, in conjunction with the association’s 84th annual convention in Anaheim, Calif.
Becky Burleigh | Gainesville, FLBill Jeffrey College Long-Term Service Award
A United Soccer Coaches Member since 1989, Burleigh retired as the head women’s coach at the University of Florida following the 2021 season. She compiled a career record of 513-160-46 (.745) in 31 seasons as a collegiate coach, first at Berry College in Georgia and then with the Gators. She won two NAIA National Championships at Berry (1990 and 1993) and then the NCAA Division I title at Florida in 1998. The 1998 National Coach of the Year, Burleigh retired as the second all-time winningest coach in Division I.Burleigh was active in service to college soccer as a United Soccer Coaches Member during her career on the conference and national levels including the women’s soccer advocacy group, regional rankings committee, All-America committee, SEC Women’s Soccer Chair and a faculty member of the NCAA Women’s Coaches Academy. She has served as a mentor for the United Soccer Coaches 30 Under 30 Program and has presented as a clinician at over 20 conventions. She received the association’s Letter of Commendation in 2021. Hired as a small college head coach just a year after her playing career at Methodist College in North Carolina ended, Burleigh has continually given back to young coaches by supporting entry level positions for women in college soccer, assisted in finding funds for women in coaching education and helped to organize events to keep women in the coaching profession. She was a co-founder of “What Drives Winning,” a character development-based approach to coaching education in all sports.
Rudy Zimmermann | Spotsylvania, Va.Robert W. Robinson High School Long-Term Service Award
A United Soccer Coaches Member since 1983, Zimmermann has served with distinction on behalf of high school soccer at the state, regional and national level throughout his career as a secondary school educator, coach and athletics administrator.Born in Germany but raised in the Philadelphia area, Zimmermann attended West Virginia University where he was a member of the Mountaineer soccer program and went on to earn his undergraduate degree. He then earned his master’s degree from George Mason University. He served as Head Coach of boys’ soccer at Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge, Virginia, from 1976-2002 and was also the Director of Student Activities from 2002 until his retirement in 2011. As coach, his teams won district and regional championships and sportsmanship awards from the high school soccer referee associations. He was named the 1981 Potomac News Boys Coach of the Year. In 2014, the Gar-Field High School stadium field was named in his honor. Zimmermann’s greatest service and impact to United Soccer Coaches has been in his role as the Convention Program Manager at its national convention for over 25 years. He continues in that role and manages the placement of dozens of field and classroom clinics, demonstrations, and other educational sessions in large convention centers and hotels that serve as the sites for the annual gathering of soccer coaches each January. Rudy was mentored for that role by Roy Gordon, a United Soccer Coaches Past President, Honor Award recipient and Hall of Fame inductee from the University of Mary Washington, where Zimmermann also served as volunteer assistant coach for years. Zimmermann previously received the association’s Certificate of Appreciation, and a Letter of Commendation in 2009. He has also been recognized with its annual Presidential Recognition Award in 2020 and the Chief Executive Officer Award of Appreciation in 2021.
Amy Griffin | Seattle, Wash. Charlotte Moran Youth Long-Term Service Award
Amy Griffin, a United Soccer Coaches Member since 1992, has certainly made a positive impact on the game at the youth level throughout her career but also as a world class player and collegiate coach for over 35 years. A native of Federal Way, Washington, she was a highly recruited goalkeeper who attended the University of Central Florida (1984-87). She was the 1987 Goalkeeper of the Year when she and teammate Michell Akers led the Knights to the NCAA Final Four. She went on to play for United States Women’s National Team from 1987-91 and was a member in the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1991 in China. Griffin was head coach at the University of New Mexico where she started the program in 1993. This followed a short stint as assistant coach at San Diego State as well as time as an assistant at Santa Clara University and her alma mater UCF. She later served as longtime assistant and then associate head coach at the University of Washington. Griffin was a goalkeeper coach for the United States under-20 national team, helping to guide the team to gold at the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.In 2015, Griffin was announced as the new head coach of the U.S. Deaf Women’s National Team. She led the team to its second consecutive Deaf World Cup title in 2016, and recently returned from Malaysia with its third Deaf World Championship.After years as a youth coach and administrator in Washington and New Mexico, and USYS Region IV ODP programs for girls of various age levels, Griffin today serves as Executive Director with the OL Reign Girls Academy. The Reign is one of the premier youth academy programs for girls in the nation. It is affiliated with the NWSL franchise in Seattle. Griffin’s service to soccer extends beyond the playing field. She has been a broadcast commentator for NBC, ESPN and Fox Sports for two FIFA World Cups and the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Griffin has also played an important role by bringing forward concerns and spotlighting the health issues of soccer players on artificial turf containing “crumb rubber” from recycled tires.In 2015, a study revealed a list of 200 athletes with cancer, 150 of them soccer players and 95 goalkeepers who had played on those surfaces. This list is now at 282, with 61% of the players playing majority of their career as goalkeepers. The news has sparked a global stir causing the Netherlands to remove all synthetic turf fields, replacing them with natural grass.Griffin is a member of the University of Central Florida, Washington Youth Soccer, and U.S. Youth Soccer Halls of Fame. She received the prestigious United Soccer Coaches Women’s Soccer Award of Excellence in 2021 and was also recognized by the association last year with its Presidential Recognition Award.