General news

Published on December 5th, 2013 | by Staples Soccer


Tom Henske Named Regional Assistant Coach Of The Year

Staples High School head coach Dan Woog often says he has “the best coaching staff in the country.”

That claim gains added weight, with the recognition of Tom Henske as Regional Assistant Coach of the Year. The award — given by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America — covers the entire Northeast region of the United States.

In his nomination letter, Woog wrote:

“Since joining the staff of Staples High School in 2009, Tom has been integral to our success. A 3-time national champion keeper with the University of Virginia in the 1990s, now working in the wealth management field, Tom’s dedication to our program as an unpaid, volunteer coach has been phenomenal. Thanks to his work with our goalkeepers, Staples won a state championship in 2009; league championships in 2009 and 2010; was runnerup in 2011, and has been a Top 10 team in the state every year.

“The first keeper Tom worked with, Michael McCarthy, is now a senior playing at Washington University in St. Louis. Michael’s successor, James Hickok, is the starting keeper (and 3-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week) at Dartmouth College. Tom is currently training 3 excellent keepers. We used 2 sophomores this year, en route to a state quarterfinal berth.

“Tom’s value to our program is inestimable. He gets to work in New York – a commute of over an hour – at 7 a.m., so he can leave early to train our players. He provides individual instruction to our varsity, junior varsity and freshman keepers. He also instructs our defense. The day before our state championship game in 2009, Tom led our final training session. He provided a game plan – and confidence – to our keepers, defenders and midfielders on how to defend against a very dangerous long throw. We won the final the next day, 4-0.

“Tom augments his on-the-field instruction with individual video sessions with our keepers. He constantly reviews clips with them, in person and via email. He provides detailed written critiques of their play in each match and training session.

“Tom spends as much time on the psychological aspect of the game as on the technical, and on physical conditioning. He tailors his work to each keeper’s best method of receiving information, and learning: phone conversations with some, email with others, personal conversations with the rest. He gets them mentally ready for big games, for upcoming training, even for the off-season.

“Tom motivates our entire team. They learn as much from his work ethic as from his phenomenal soccer insights. They see his commitment to them, and learn to give back themselves. They hear his stories about winning three national championships, and they are inspired.

“Tom’s commitment is year-round, and total. He organizes training regimens throughout the year, and volunteers his time constantly. Sunday mornings in January, hot evenings in July – Tom is always there.

“He has tied the Staples High School soccer community together with frequent ‘Staples Goalkeeper Nation’ emails to dozens of former keepers. He also serves as a member of the board of directors of the Westport Soccer Association, an organization with over 1,000 players ages 5 through 19. He participates regularly in townwide soccer efforts, including the Kick for Nick equipment drive, the A Better Chance fundraiser, and more.

“I don’t know how Tom has time to do all that he does. The fact that he does it all – and far more – as an unpaid volunteer is astonishing.”

Henske’s selection as Regional Assistant Coach of the Year comes 3 years after Kurt Dasbach earned the same honor. Two years ago Woog was named State Coach of the Year; earlier, he was named National Youth Coach of the Year.

Tom Henske (left) and Kurt Dasbach — Staples’ finest.

Despite a broken leg last year — suffered playing soccer — Tom Henske was on the Staples sidelines.

Tom Henske with James Hickok, before the 2010 state finals.

Tom Henske, back in his own high school days.



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