KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 30, 2018) – United Soccer Coaches announced on Friday the inaugural recipients of the Advocacy Awards of Excellence. The recipients will be honored at the Advocacy Hour Breakfast at 8:00 am on Friday, Jan. 11 in Chicago during the 2019 United Soccer Coaches Convention.

The awards honor an individual, organization or group that has shown outstanding work representative of the values of their respective Advocacy Group and dedication to meeting the association’s highest ideals of inclusion and diversity in the game of soccer. Recipients were nominated by United Soccer Coaches members and selected by each individual Advocacy Group.

“We are delighted to recognize five individuals who have demonstrated our association’s commitment to the culture of soccer through advocacy,” said United Soccer Coaches CEO Lynn Berling-Manuel. “Each has dedicated time and service to meeting the need for diversity and inclusion in the game and in our membership.”

The inaugural recipients of the Advocacy Awards of Excellence are:

Black Coaches Award of Excellence – Kim Crabbe
Disabilities Allies Award of Excellence – Lauren Gregg
Faith-Based Coaches Award of Excellence – Dan Wood
Latin American Coaches Award of Excellence – Charlie Inverso
LGBT & Allies Award of Excellence – Sue Ryan

Crabbe is the Director of Programming – Outreach for the Wilmington Hammerheads FC. She was a member of George Mason’s 1985 National Championship team and later became the first African-American woman to play for the U.S. Women’s National Team. Through the outreach program she visits underprivileged areas and schools putting on youth soccer clinics.

Gregg was a national championship player and assistant coach at North Carolina before leading Virginia to seven straight NCAA Tournaments and a berth in the Final Four in 1991. She became the first woman to serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team, helping to win the 1991 and 1999 Women’s World Cups and gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Wood is the Executive Director of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), a position he has held since 2000. He has been a coach, faculty member and athletic administrator at Limestone College, Oklahoma Wesleyan University and Indiana Wesleyan University.

Inverso recently completed his eighth season as the head coach at Rider University. He won his 500th career game this season, en route to leading the Broncs to the MAAC Tournament Championship and an NCAA Tournament berth.

Ryan led the Stony Brook women’s soccer team for 31 years, compiling 229 career wins and overseeing the transition from NCAA Division III to Division I. She has served United Soccer Coaches in a variety of capacities and currently serves as an Ex-Officio member of the United Soccer Coaches Board of Directors and as Advocacy Council Chair. She was the 2011 Women’s Soccer Award of Excellence recipient.