The late Steve Newman left a lasting impact at Mercer Island, where he was head boys soccer coach for 15 years.
Newman passed away in 2012 and a memorial fund was established in his name. Ryan Hill became the second recipient of the Steve Newman Spirit Award on Tuesday.
Here are the details, sent by Valerie Sils, president of the Steve Newman Memorial Fund:
Ryan Hill, 2-time first team, All-Kingco Conference soccer player from Mercer Island High School, won the second annual Steve Newman Spirit Award at Tuesday night’s boys’ soccer banquet. Ryan, a junior, was one of 3 team captains during the year, a team leader, a young man who lives and breathes soccer, and ‘…the quintessential recipient of the Steve Newman Spirit Award’, said Colin Rigby, MIHS Head Coach.
This award is given on behalf of Newman, head coach of the MIHS boys soccer team over a 15 year period, whose sudden passing in October, 2012 inspired family and friends to create a Memorial Fund in his honor. The award is given to the outstanding player of the year who exemplifies the key characteristics valued by Newman. Those characteristics include hard work, teamwork, a no-nonsense attitude, a constant striving to learn and improve, and a huge lover of soccer.
The specific award benefit is not a traditional year-end financial scholarship, but rather a one week trip for the winner to a city with a Major League Soccer professional team. The trip reflects Newman’s love of soccer and his joy in independent travel. Rigby calls the award, ‘…very cool, very unique, and very Steve.’
Nate Umlauf, now a sophomore at USC, was the first award winner in 2013, and visited Dallas FC for a full week, immersed in the professional team’s training, one match, and a lot of business and marketing activity. He was hosted by Schellas Hyndman, then Dallas FC Coach.
Ryan Hill, 2014 winner, is a junior, and lead the team in total goals scored throughout the season, including 3 hat tricks in a row (3 goals in each of 3 games) during the playoff season. When the award was announced, Hill appeared visibly stunned, yet managed to speak at the podium with poise about his coach, Colin Rigby, his teammates, and his brief association with Coach Steve Newman in 2012, when he had been called up to play in the playoff series of that year. “…receiving this award is truly an honor, and I am very grateful,” said, Ryan, who later posed with his parents for a remembrance photo.
Hill will travel to Sporting Kansas City in mid-July, where he will meet and practice with the team, participate in team preparation for the games with Manchester City and LA Galaxy that are scheduled during the week, and assist the team under the supervision of Chris Wyche, EVP Operations. Hill is expected to return to the MIHS soccer program during the next season, as a senior.
There were three honorable mentions also given during the banquet, to Ryan Koning, Derek Sims, and Nate Schuler. Rigby said to the crowd on hand, ‘…please notice what each of these three young men brings to the game, his team, and his community. You young soccer players in the audience can someday strive to be the player and person each of these young men is. Congratulations to all of them.”