Richard, along with Chad Thimons, were both appointed as executive directors of Stuart Youth Soccer Club non profit organization in January 2013 by the Florida Youth Soccer Association (FYSA) board of directors. The goal was to reinvigorate youth soccer in the club’s catchment area of Stuart, Okeechobee, Indiantown, Palm City and the western areas of Martin County. The “Stuart Breakers” as they were once known had over 1,000 participants in the club at its peak in the 1980s and 1990s and sadly by 2011 had less than 20 players registered. Richard and Chad immediately renamed the club from Stuart Youth Soccer to Martin United Soccer Club with the approval of the FYSA at their annual AGM.
Richard has been involved in youth soccer since 2005 when he first started coaching at Stuart Youth Soccer Club. After five and a half seasons Richard moved to Jensen Beach Soccer Club in August 2011 as a coach of a U13 boys team making the transition from small sided games to the full size field. Richard soon became an executive board member, as Secretary, thru to 2013. Part of Richard’s responsibilities were to attend the Treasure Coast Soccer League monthly board meetings in 2011.
In January 2012 Richard was motioned in to the position of president of the Treasure Coast Soccer League and held that position until January 2016. Richard’s drive and new energy helped to reinvigorate the youth participation in league’s events. Richard worked with Thomas Rungen to create and develop the Development Pathway League “DPL” strategey. Richard and his TCSL board of directors successfully implemented the DPL into the TCSL schedule and it has proven to be an excellent stepping stone for players showing potential to move from recreational soccer season to experience competitive soccer benchmarks without making the commitment too soon to a higher level. The TCSL’s DPL has since help to develop hundreds of confident, technical players from all member clubs within the TCSL. As president of the TCSL, Richard’s core focus was on education the participants. Not only the youth participants but also the junior and senior referees, volunteer coaches and most importantly, the spectators and the parents. The messages were simple to spectators, positive reinforcement only, no sideline coaching, no abusive remarks to officials. Model behavior from all was expected. Richard gave up much of his time attending event jamborees and tournaments to share this philosophy with all the spectators before each game. Scores and standings were removed so the goals were changed from executing to win to executing to develop. It proved that education works and all the players benefited from playing in an positive game day environment.
Richard has continued with his on personal education during this period and he currently holds a USSF National D youth coaching license and also the USSF National Youth License.
Richard’s philosophy for Martin United is simple. It is to create an environment where mistakes are viewed as a learning opportunity for everyone by using guided discovery educational techniques. Richard see’s the game of soccer as a fun, problem solving game which challenges participants mental, physical, psychosocial, cognitive abilities and technical skill. Mastery off all is our goal. Participants are defined as players, officials, coaches and spectators / parents.
Martin United has since developed quickly under Richard’s leadership and within two years the club soon grew from just a recreational club to include a travel program. Today, after four years of sustained growth Martin United has over 400 active member families participating in Martin United 2017/18 soccer programs. What makes Richard proud is the fact that many of the competitive soccer teams at Martin United are populated by players who joined Martin United as grass roots recreational players and have developed within the safety of Martin United’s philosophy.
Richard coaches through-out the clubs programs and participates in all the grass roots micro player programs, the DPL season and the competitive program. His focus during the recreational program is more on the volunteer coaches rather than the individual players.
“Ideally, I’d like families that buy in to our club philosophy and agree to uphold it. I’d rather be a smaller club with like minded families to develop our youth athletes in a positive way, rather than being focused on the number of participants and wins like other clubs in the area.”
Please see an exert from the International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, dated March 1st 2011 that inspired much of Richard’s philosophy.
“An effort-oriented philosophy of winning is one of the core principles underlying the creation of a mastery motivational climate—a learning environment that emphasizes skill development, personal and team success, maximum effort, and fun17-19. A large body of research indicates that in sports, as in other achievement settings, mastery achievement goals and a mastery motivational climate are associated with salutary effects on athletes. Compared with ego-oriented athletes, those high in mastery orientation report higher feelings of competence, greater enjoyment of the activity, and higher intrinsic motivation and effort. A mastery orientation (particularly in combination with a low ego orientation) is also related to lower levels of cognitive trait anxiety and pre-event state anxiety. Finally, a mastery goal orientation is related to a variety of adaptive achievement behaviors, such as exerting consistent effort, persistence in the face of setbacks, and sustained and improved performance. Although an ego orientation has at times been linked to high levels of achievement, it also has a number of less desirable correlates, such as inconsistent effort, higher levels of performance anxiety, reduced persistence or withdrawal in the face of failure, decreased intrinsic motivation for sport involvement, and a willingness to use deception and illegal methods in order to win”
Source : Smoll, F.L., Cumming, S.P., Smith, R.E. (2011). Enhancing coach-parent relationships in youth sports: increasing harmony and minimizing hassle. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 6, pp. 13 – 26. doi:10.1260/1747-95188.8.131.52 https://doi.org/10.1260/1747-95184.108.40.206
Martin United Soccer Club
Ryan is the Vice President of Martin United Soccer. This is a volunteer position. Ryan has been our VP since 2015. Previous to that Ryan has been a volunteer coach, and Club Secretary on the executive board.
Ryan became involved, as most parents do, when his daughter’s soccer team needed a coach. He stepped up and was immediately hooked. He loves helping the kids learn and grow.
Volunteering time and energy is always rewarded by the kids appreciation and growth. Ryan’s favorite part of coaching is the reward gained by seeing the kids execute what was learned in training in the game settings and the camaraderie that the players develop with each other.
Ryan is very proud to be at Martin United as our club has consistently implemented our “player first” philosophy both by educating the club members that the growth of the player is more important than the “winning” on the scorecard and by our actions taken as board members.
Ryan has a USSF National E License and plans to continue his soccer education.
Martin United Soccer Club
Todd is the Treasurer at Martin United Soccer Club. This is a volunteer position. Todd joined the club as a volunteer coach in 2014 and joined the board of directors in 2015. Todd become an executive board member in 2016.
Todd is inspired by the “a-ha moment” when a player (at any age) executes a new skill from something that he has learnt in training or copied from a another player.
Todd is proud our club philosophy and openly shares that he is in it for the kids and their development; not only the wins. Todd is a big believer in technical before tactical development.
Todd holds a USSF National E License.
Martin United Soccer Club
Jason is the club secretary at Martin United Soccer Club. This is a volunteer position. Jason joined the club as a volunteer coach and has been on the executive board of directors since 2017. He was a member of the board of directors since 2015.
Jason has been involved with the Stuart and Palm City soccer community since 2012 in various capacities by promoting positive environments for learning, including coaching and volunteering.
Jason has been involved in various volunteer positions with youth sport leagues in the area as a player, coach and official. He was part of the team that helped develop Martin United’s competitive soccer program. Jason and his 4 children are actively involved in competitive youth sports including soccer, volleyball, and taekwondo in the Treasure Coast.
Jason is a certified youth soccer referee and valuable member of Martin United and youth sports on the Treasure Coast.
Ed Gribben Jr.
Registrar and Competitive Commissioner
Martin United Soccer Club
Ed is a lifelong basketball player and now a basketball referee. Ed made the transition to soccer when his oldest daughter was four, coaching her and several other four and five year old at the YMCA. Little did he know that nine years later, all three of his children would play competitive soccer, and he would have an active role in a soccer club! Ed is a fantastic resource for anything he gets involved with at Martin United.
Where needed, Ed has filled many positions within the club: volunteer, vice-president, recreational coach, registrar, competitive coach, competitive commissioner, field scheduler, recreational commissioner, referee, and more. Often taking on too much, Ed is driven by a desire to provide an orderly learning environment for the children in our community and its positive effect on our community’s youth.
“We are teaching good decision making and self confidence that transcends the pitch. Soccer is the vehicle to deliver these lessons that will benefit our children throughout their lives.”
Ed is a very valuable volunteer member of the Martin United board of directors and is an essential cog in “making it happen for the kids”.
Ed has a USSF E license and he is also a Grade 8 soccer referee.
Supporting Board of Directors
Player Development Director
Martin United Soccer Club
Stuart Duffin is a former player at Bristol City Football Club which play in the English league. Stuart played from 1992-1995 at the Championship division level for “The Cherries”. Following his time with Bristol City, Stuart then played for Stafford Rangers F.C. in the English Conference League, until the end of the 1995 season. After that, Stuart focused his soccer and personal educational development in the USA.
Stuart studied at Hofstra University in New York from 1995-1999, where he received a soccer scholarship. While at Hofstra, he was America East Conference Player of the Year, 1997-98; Regional All-American 1st team selection, Fall 1997; All-America East Conference 1st team selection, Fall 1997 and 1998; Hofstra University Soccer MVP, 1996-97. Stuart’s 50 career goals still stands as school record.
From, 2001-2003, he played for the New York Freedom in the USL D-3 Pro League.
Since moving to Florida in 2003, his soccer career has mainly revolved around local tournament invites although a regular figure in the Copa Latina tournament in Miami. Stuart was voted MVP of the pre-Copa Latina tournament in 2009.
Since 2003 Stuart has been a member of the Mako Soccer Club professional training staff. There, he provided technical training for Mako Soccer Club recreational and select teams.
Stuart was instrumental in developing the Mako Soccer Academy, which is designed to develop young players technical ability from an early age. In 2013, Stuart became the Director of Coaching at Mako Soccer Club and successfully guided the coaches of the club to improve player development and performance levels. The club had its best years of competition at the younger age groups under Stuart’s leadership and also had 3 teams in the round of 16 of State Cup in 2015.
1992 –1994: Coached at the F.A. School of Excellence in Nailsea, England.
2002: Player Coach of the NY Irish Rovers. Winner of Long Island Soccer league and NY State Cup.
2004 thru 2015 : Head Coach at Mako Soccer club for boys and girls teams at all age groups with many State and National coaching achievements across 7v7, 9v9 and 11v11 groups for both boys and girls teams.
2015: Appointed Director of Coaching at Mako Soccer Club
2016: Appointed Director of Coaching at Martin United Soccer Club U8 thru U12
2017: Appointed Player Development Director at Martin United Soccer Club Boys and Girls programs