Youth soccer coach recognized for dedication


Youth soccer coach James Dean inspires kids and parents on and off the field, earning him special recognition.

Mayor Kristin Gaspar on March 8 presented Dean with a Mayor’s Certificate of Recognition at the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA soccer arena.

The certificate came as a surprise to Dean, who told the Encinitas Advocate that he started coaching to spend more time with his kids.

“I didn’t have a dad that wanted to be part of my life,” Dean said. “Now that I’m a father and have kids, I really want to be involved in their lives.”

He has coached for various soccer leagues over the years, including Encinitas Express Soccer, a youth program. Parents say he takes the time to make players feel special, including giving each of them handwritten notes describing how they inspire him.

“He just goes above and beyond,” said parent Danica Edelbrock, whose son was on Dean’s team last season and currently plays for him. “And I’m impressed by how positive he always is.”

Edelbrock said at the end of the team party last season, some parents were in tears while describing Dean’s effort to go the extra mile.

Gaspar said inspired parents contacted her in hopes that she would recognize Dean.

“It is important for the city to recognize individuals doing good in our community and for its young people,” Gaspar wrote in an email shortly after awarding Dean with the certificate.

Dean said the coach is only one part of the team.

“I just want to be there to help kids laugh and have fun. I feel very blessed to have the support of the kids and their parents. It takes everybody, not just the coach.”