Dr. Thomas Fleck, an icon in youth soccer coaching education, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 24, at the age of 74.
Fleck represented the U.S. Soccer Federation as the technical advisor for the 1980 World Youth Championship in Tunisia, as well as the 1994 World Cup hosted by the United States. He also was recognized internationally when he presented a keynote on youth soccer for UEFA Coaches at Wembley, England in 1998.
"Tom was incredibly dedicated to the game of soccer and helping it grow in the United States,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “There's no doubt he will long be remembered for his contributions. Our deepest condolences to the Fleck family and the many friends who loved him.”
A 40-year member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Fleck served as president of the NSCAA for two years (1984-85). Fleck was instrumental in the establishment of the NSCAA Academies, the association's soccer coaching education division. As a member of the NSCAA Executive Committee, Fleck championed youth soccer and was instrumental in developing the youth coach membership category. He served as a member of its teaching staff for more than a quarter of a century. In 2005, Fleck was chosen as the 63rd recipient of the Honor Award, the highest award bestowed by the NSCAA.
A 1958 graduate of West Chester University, Fleck was honored as an All-American. He also played for the Uhrik Truckers before serving as a coach and administrator. He was the men's varsity coach at Lehigh University (1965-78), where he earned his doctorate in education in 1970 while serving as Director of the famed Centennial Elementary Laboratory School, the breeding ground for many of his innovative approaches to developmental learning systems. He was also the general manager of the NASL's Philadelphia Fury (1979-82).
An accomplished author, he wrote or co-wrote more than 10 books, including the popular The Baffled Parent's Guide to Great Soccer Drills.
Inducted into the Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Hall of Fame in 1996, Fleck also received the Walt Chyzowych Memorial Fund Award in 2004. He was presented an NSCAA Letter of Commendation in 1986 and participated in the torch relay for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games.
Memorial Services for Dr. Thomas Fleck, Jr., 1:00pm, January 21, 2012, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 9001 106th Avenue N., Largo, FL 33777
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to The Thomas Fleck, Jr. Foundation:
Marks Gray, P.A.
FBO The Dr. Thomas Fleck, Jr. Foundation
1200 Riverplace Blvd., Suite 800
Jacksonville, FL 32207