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In Memory of Dan Herbst

Soccer in the United States lost one of its own with the passing this week of longtime soccer journalist and licensed coach Dan Herbst.  Attached below is an article remembering Dan's great contribution to the sport of soccer in the United States.  The article is reprinted from and written by soccer writer Michael Lewis.

DAN HERBST --  Soccer Writer, Coach and EHYSL President Passes Away

Dan Herbst, president of the East Hudson Youth Soccer League, died from complications from leukemia on Tuesday, Nov. 6. He was 48.  Herbst battled leukemia since February and recently underwent surgery to improve his condition.

Herbst was an accomplished sportswriter, covering primarily soccer and bowling.  He wrote for many publications, including for Soccer Digest, Soccer Magazine and Soccer New York, among others.  He also authored several books, including one with Paul Caligiuri, who scored the goal that lifted the U.S. into its first World Cup in 40 years, and a U.S. Soccer coaching book.

Herbst put his money where his typewriter and computer were, as he put his knowledge to good use, coaching youth soccer at the Yorktown Soccer Club.

"The support of the game by pioneers like Dan Herbst in this country will not be easily forgotten," said U.S. Soccer president Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia. "He was there throughout our growth across the last three decades, chronicling the story of soccer for American fans.  His dedication and love of the sport definitely made its mark on U.S. Soccer and will be missed."

Herbst is survived by his wife, Sandy, and his two sons, Larry and Colin.

The EHYSL recently held a special dinner-dance for Herbst and his family at the Teen Outback Center in Croton Falls on Oct. 13, and the turnout and emotions were overflowing.  More than 130 members of the EHYSL family showed up to give Herbst their support - moral, emotional and financial.

"I can't even begin to say how appreciative our family is for everything everybody has done," Herbst addressed the dinner guests as his voice broke several times. "It's been incredible. It lets you know we're not in this alone. I don't want to single people out because if I forget one and I will feel terrible.  I know Nietzsche, the great German philosopher said, 'The things that don't kill you makes you stronger.' I know what he meant now because I realize how strong our family is, what they mean to me and how many incredible friends we have. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you."

Later, Herbst got up and addressed everyone again.

"I know a lot of people said in the last six months that we don't deserve this," he said. "The fact is that we are so blessed it is unbelievable.  Maybe we don't deserve the bad luck of the last six months, But I probably don't deserve all the incredible good luck of the 48 years before that.  I grew up with fantastic parents in a great, safe environment and went to school, which my parents paid for.  I've been able to do for a living what I love doing.  I can't believe people pay me to watch soccer games and to coach. There are so many young men who have grown up who have made me so proud."

Helping Herbst was a no-brainer, according to dinner organizer Jim Eleftherion.

"With Dan being a writer, self-employed, and this type of illness takes the pen and computer out of his hands," he said.  "I was at a soccer tournament back in August. One of our parents mentioned that he had a place, the Outback Center, which he had just bought. . . . We had a board meeting two weeks later and we said, 'Let's roll with it, put a fund-raiser together for all his hard effort and work for soccer in general and throughout the state.'  People love Dan. People have been involved with him over the years. I think what has brought us together is everything that has happened all over the world over the last month. People look at their own group and they realize how precious everyone really is."

Jim Cancellaro, the EHYSL second vice president, was a good friend of Herbst.

"I've been in youth soccer for 22 years," he said. "A night like this makes you realize how good the organization is. We certainly try to affect kids' lives and teach them the game of soccer. But here we came upon a situation where someone has given so much to the game, so much to the community, so much to the kids in this league who have a genuine need and the league rose to the occasion. At times, the people in this room are at opposite ends of the political spectrum and yet they all came together and are doing the right thing. This means a lot to me. This is something above and beyond soccer. This is humanitarian. We saw the need of a family in our league, a very special family to us, and we took care of it.  It gives me a great feeling to know that I'm a part of it."

Contributions and donations in memory of Dan Herbst can be made to the "Friends of Dan Herbst", created to help his family cope with the cost of his medical procedures and treatment.

"The Friends of Dan Herbst"
407 Route 6
Mahopac, NY 10541