June's D.C. United Coaches Association Coach of the Month is Mark Pennypacker. Pennypacker is the Varsity Girls Coach at James Wood High School, and recently finished a term as commissioner of the Blue Ridge Youth Soccer Association. In addition, he has served as chairman of the Winchester Parks and Recreation Board. He earned his Premier Diploma from the NSCAA in June 2003, and was honored by that organization as the 2001 Eastern Regional Girls Coach of the Year.
Pennypacker's Lady Colonels recently finished a season - his tenth as head coach - that saw the team struggle on the field. The squad was depleted by the opening of a new high school in the area, but the team's spirits remained high. Along with his work at James Wood, Pennypacker also coaches a girls U-19 team. In 2003, he took that side to compete in the Haarlem Cup, a premier youth tournament in the Netherlands.
His teams excel off the field as well as on. For the past seven years, the team has been recognized for their academic achievement by the NSCAA, maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.25. Players also participate in extracurricular groups with their high school and play other sports outside of soccer.
As part of being a coach, Pennypacker tries to ensure the growth of soccer by setting a positive example for his players. He focuses on what he brings to the community and the player's experience, rather than the wins and losses.
"As I train children, my goal is to make the experience so positive that in years to come, my current players will have their children playing soccer," said Pennypacker. "As a high school coach, I try to give back to the community in a variety of ways. I coach, train coaches, referee, assist with field construction and help in any way I can."
To nominate an individual for recognition as the D.C. United Coaches Association Coach of the Month, or to bring your team to a D.C. United match, log on to www.dcunited.com or call 202-587-5000.