August 19th, 2011

Hyland's Heroes: Steve Young

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer


Hyland's Heroes: Steve Young
photo by Angela Young

Young - the SS. Simon & Jude soccer coach who started it all

The following feature is a part of a weekly series, sponsored by Hyland, Block & Hyland, called "Hyland's Heroes" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic volunteers, coaches and administrators who assist athletic programs and teams, and help promote excellence in all aspects of sports. Know someone that you think should be featured as the next "Hyland's Hero? Send your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

A young kid at the bottom end of a big Catholic family has little choice but to follow around their older siblings. In Steve Young’s case, he followed around one of his older brothers who happened to pick up soccer at DeSales. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Steve Young is one of eight kids, five boys, from a close-knit family at SS. Simon & Jude parish. All eight of them graduated from the school and more than 40 of his extended family have as well. He played one year of football and four years of basketball there, culminating in a city championship in 1976.

“That was back when they had cuts to make the team and I was fortunate enough to be on a city championship team,” Young proudly recalled. “It was a big thing for us back then, just as it is today.”

That was just one of those binding ties to his elementary school. A closer tie would develop while he was in high school and last for 30 years.

As Young explains, he caught the soccer bug by hanging around one of his older brothers. “We didn’t have soccer at SS. Simon & Jude,” he explained. “I got started playing soccer because my older brother played at DeSales. He was two years ahead of me and they started their program his freshman year in 1974. I just kicked around with him in the backyard and he taught me the game. So naturally I went out for the team and really enjoyed it.”

Enjoyed it might be an understatement. As a junior, Young led the state in scoring and helped lead DeSales to a state semifinal finish. A team captain his senior year, he was a first team all-state selection.

But something else caught his attention while at DeSales. Long time DeSales teacher and soccer coach Tim Burke asked if any of the players would be interested in helping to start a soccer program at SS. Simon & Jude. Just a junior, Young and a buddy were the first to coach the 7th/8th grade team there.

“I was a junior at DeSales and the varsity soccer coach asked if any of the players would like to help coach at SS. Simon and Jude,” Young said. “They were just starting their program for 7th/8th graders and the CSAA was just starting their soccer program as well. So a friend, Dennis Hill, who also graduated from SS. Simon & Jude, volunteered to coach the team in 1980.

“We were the head coaches and were able to coach them because we played in the fall and the CSAA played in the spring. I enjoyed coaching them so much that I decided to stay with the program until I retired in 2009. I did take a couple of years to help the DeSales team, but finished my time with the consolidated school of St. Nicholas, which included students from Mount Carmel, St. Thomas More and Most Blessed Sacrament as well as SS. Simon & Jude, in 2009.”

Nearly 30 years of coaching soccer in the community brought Young not just success, but the satisfaction of seeing students grow with the game and grow as young men.

“For a while, I was coaching one or more of my nephews every year,” he chuckled. “I had several opportunities to go to other high schools, but I just enjoyed watching these kids grow.”

And grow they did. Not just the kids, but the whole program at SS. Simon & Jude. “After we started the program in 1980, we got the 3rd/4th grade and 5th/6th grade teams up and running,” he said. “We would help all the levels with clinics and practices. Just watching them grow and develop and go on to play in high school and the highest level of college was a special thing for me. Now I’m coaching the kids of kids. Two kids we played the other night from Collegiate were players that I coached and I’ve had kids who played at all the Catholic high schools here. I had kids play collegiately at Indiana, Notre Dame, Ohio State and many others.”

Like so many volunteer coaches in the CSAA, Young’s passion for the game and desire to see young kids do the right thing on and off the field helped strengthen his tie to his alma mater and to the kids. His messages to them were simple and consistent.

“First, I tried to foster a love of the game for them,” he said. “Try your hardest no matter your skill level and always do the best that you can. If you get knocked down, pick yourself up. Believe in yourself; believe in your teammates and believe in God and you’ll get where you want to go.”

The satisfaction that comes with nurturing a program and nurturing young athletes is not lost on Young. “I loved doing it. I love my parish and loved the little school at SS. Simon & Jude.”

 

 

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