A son’s letter…
The people who founded youth soccer, maintained it and now run it in the Waynesville-St.Robert area are numerous and otherwise unrecognized volunteers. Richland, Laquey, Dixon, and Crocker all owe a debt of gratitude to these people, for creating local interest in the sport and guiding them in the creation of their own leagues. Last fall, the Crocker boys finished their year at the State Final 4, a direct result of the regions development.
But the reason I write this letter is for one man. I doubt seriously the people of these communities know that the unassuming junior varsity girl’s soccer coach for the Waynesville Tigers is one of the founders of Pulaski County soccer. On Thursday May 8, 2008, my father Nelson Morgan, will coach his last soccer game.
He’s coached more than a thousand soccer players from ages 5-19 in the Waynesville area the past 22 years. He took a year off in the late 90’s from coaching high school, but continued even then with youth teams. During this period he’s been the common thread running through coaches, players, youth leagues, field maintenance, flood recovery, school board meetings, athletic directors, etc. He is, as far as I’m concerned the grandfather not only of my nephew, but also of Pulaski County soccer.
He’s been there for it all, from 1986 to 2008. And I thank him publicly for that. I play a soccer game weekly nearly 500 miles away from Waynesville, in Murfreesboro, TN. The field is full of 20-30 something soccer has-beens, a generation of people who grew up playing soccer. We all seem to have the same story, a small town league, where no one knew how to start a new sport. But we learned to love the game, as do thousands of people in Pulaski County on Saturday mornings now regularly. Thanks Dad, this is your legacy. It is a good one.
Nelson has done a great job maintaining and always trying to improve Waynesville soccer. I have gotten to know Nelson well the last 2 years and have found him one of the most prepared coaches I have ever been around. He is a student of the game and has a passion for soccer and the kids that is rivaled by few. Nelson is never out-worked by an opposing coach and he strives to put his players in a situations that allow them to be successful. On top of that, I have never in my life seen someone keep such meticulous statistics. Nelson, you may retire from coaching, but I am certain we will see you around some Ozark Conference matches with the floppy hat and the chair that must now say: the re-un-re-tired Coach Morgan. We’ll miss your excitement about the game in Waynesville.
Josh Scott, Head Coach
Nelson has been the face of Waynesville soccer since its inception. His hard work and dedication will be missed. He truly is one of the good people in our business, and I for one will miss seeing him at the Waynesville games. Thanks Nelson for all you did for soccer in our area.
Nelson carried that clipboard around like a preacher carries a Bible. I have always admired his professionalism in everything he did. Through his efforts, Waynesville is one of the first programs that led the way on how to properly host a district tournament or state play off game. They saw the importance of honoring the teams playing by doing the small things to allow the participating teams the ability to just focus on the game. Nelson was a big part of that effort and for that I will always be grateful. Congrats on all the years you have invested in encouraging kids to learn and play the beautiful game, but more importantly the life lessons you have instilled.
Loyal is a word that I would say describes Nelson Morgan. In my 17 years at Rolla, Waynesville has had 6 head coaches, including Nelson himself. With that kind of turnover it is difficult to maintain any consistency, yet Nelson has given that to the Tiger program and that takes a unique quality. He takes a great deal of pride in the soccer program and I am happy that he has seen this senior group at Waynesville have some success as he certainly deserves it.