WILMINGTON — Accolades continue to pour in for players and coaches involved in the Wilmington Hammerheads Youth FC (WHYFC) organization. After being nominated by a representative of the club, Hammerheads Coach Zach Haines has been named North Carolina Youth Soccer Association (NCYSA) ‘Coach of the Year’ for 2016.
The association is the governing body of all youth soccer in the state of North Carolina. This includes clubs from Raleigh, Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro, Durham and surrounding areas. Coaches are chosen to represent their club and a selection committee decides the annual winner. Past award recipients include: current Duke University Head Women’s Soccer Coach Robbie Church and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Cindy Parlow.
“It’s a great honor to receive this award,” Haines said. “I am thankful for those who nominated me, and greatly appreciate the recognition from all the wonderful people at NCYSA. I have spent my whole life as a player and coach in this state, so it really is extra special.”
The Coach of the Year Committee/Executive Board evaluates nominees on four areas. They include sportsmanship, player development, personal coaching development and involvement in the community.
In addition to his work with WHYFC, Haines just wrapped up his fifth season on Coach Aidan Heaney’s staff and his first year as associate head coach for the UNC-Wilmington Men’s Soccer Program.
“I am a college coach, but my passion for the youth side of the game runs deep,” Haines said. “It is a huge priority in my life to make sure that the kids I work with have a great experience. The overarching goal is always to help them become better players, and most importantly, better people. If we all share this commitment, they will be in a better position to achieve certain goals, while also building great relationships along the way.
“I work with an incredible group of young men and parents who are very supportive,” he said. “The 99 Hammerheads group really deserves the credit for any honors and success that come our way. Their approach and work ethic is a fine example for all teams in the Wilmington community and beyond.”
Haines came to Wilmington from the Triangle Futbol Club in Raleigh, where he served as the assistant director of youth development. While with Triangle, Haines coached the U20 men’s team to consecutive USL South Atlantic Division titles in 2010 and 2011 and to a national championship final four appearance.
Prior to working with Triangle Futbol Club, Haines was the head coach at East Chapel Hill High School for two seasons. During his tenure, he guided the program to a 30-10-3 record at the 4A level and was ranked 13th in the state in 2010.
Haines played at North Carolina before injuries shortened his career in 2006. He returned in 2009 as a volunteer, when he audited training sessions and worked with game day operations. Haines graduated from North Carolina with a degree in Management and Society. He also holds NSCAA National, Advanced National and Premier Diplomas.