Posted on December 9, 2011
By Bob Bradley
Special to TropiGol.com
Jim Barlow, the Princeton soccer coach, emailed me last week with the news that Manfred Schellscheidt was stepping down as soccer coach at Seton Hall University.
I immediately dialed Manfred’s number like I have done thousands of times the last 24 years, and heard my friend’s voice answer, “Seton Hall soccer office.” Of course, I knew it was 24 years because 1987 was such an important year in my life. On July 26, 1987 the Union Lancers, a U-19 club team that Manfred and I coached together, won the McGuire Cup at the St. Louis Soccer Park.
The date sticks in my head because it was the due date for our first child. For the record, Michael was born five days later. That fall Manfred was my part-time assistant at Princeton, and when the Seton Hall job opened with Eddie Kelly leaving to go to Boston College, Manfred had his first full-time coaching position.
He locked up his tool box at the tool and dye shop with the idea that it would always be there if he went back. As it turned out, that never happened.
Manfred was just too busy coaching and teaching the game to anyone who was lucky enough to be around him. I consider myself the luckiest of all because I had the opportunity to share the game with him in so many ways. We coached club teams, ODP teams and youth national teams. I also played in countless pick-up games that Manfred organized with his amazing ability to commandeer any decent field or gym in New Jersey.
For him, coaching meant experiencing and understanding the lessons of the game, and there was no better way than playing. I started a tradition of playing in the gym in Princeton on Christmas Eve morning, and Manfred is still the first to show up for those games today.
He always talked about learning from the game and for so many players, coaches, journalists and soccer people in general, the experience of sharing the game with Manfred won’t be forgotten. For the past 24 years, wherever I’ve been, the Seton Hall soccer office was always the first place I would turn to talk to my friend and mentor about the game. He has always reminded me that the game keeps us all honest.
Bob Bradley, former coach of the U.S. National Team, is currently the coach of the Egyptian National Team.
Photo by Andy Mead/YCJ/
Categories: Guest Writer, My Two Cents
Tags: Bob Bradley, Manfred Schellscheidt, Union Lancers