Weekly Feature

2009-07-01 / Front Page

Former player now runs soccer association


Rob Anderson Rob Anderson As president of the Amherst Soccer Association, Rob Anderson is able to give back to the sport that gave him so much while he was growing up in the town.

In its 31st year, ASA now has 2,400 players, including Anderson's 16-year-old son, Brad, who plays on the Boys U16 Travel Team. Anderson himself is an association alumnus, joining in 1983 and playing on a travel team, as well as at Williamsville North High School. He was a goal tender.

Anderson returned to the association in 1991 when Brad started playing and served on the board as vice president of fields. Currently, he is in his third year as president.

"I enjoy it. I have a real love for the game of soccer," he said. "I am able to give back to the sport — association — that gave me so much growing up."

Anderson is very proud of the growth ASA has recorded in the last several years. In the past seven years it has added 500 to 600 youths; the number of teams has greatly increased; it has grown into one of the largest associations in the northeast; it continues to host a successful Memorial Day tournament, bringing in 140 teams and generating millions for the local economy; and it recently became the first club in the state to sponsor TOPSoccer, a program designed for athletes with special needs.

"It is very satisfying to work with a bunch of dedicated volunteers," he said. "It takes a lot of time, like a second full-time job; the whole club is run by volunteers."

With only a few years remaining in Brad's ASA career, Anderson was asked what he plans to do when his son is no longer a player.

"I will continue for a while," he said. "My mission is to make the association and the game better."

In addition to serving as president, he is co-director of the tournament and is also a boys travel team and TOPSoccer coach.

"The focus is on the game, not the score," he said about teaching young players. To promote that, ASA is the only club in the state to have a director of coaching. Recently hired, Brendan Murphy will begin in a few weeks.

Looking back over his long history with ASA, Anderson has seen great changes. Since he was a player, girls participation has grown immensely. He credits the recent success of the USA and Olympic teams for promoting women's soccer. Also, in 2008, ASA opened an indoor training facility at the Village Glen Tennis Center.

"ASA desires to develop and enhance the skills of players and coaches," he said.

It appears he is ready and able to do just that.

Anderson added, "I receive a lot of help and support from my wife, Amy. Her support and patience has allowed me to spend a lot of time at ASA."

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