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Yavapai College soccer coach Pantalione receives esteemed national honor

In January 2016, Yavapai College soccer coach Mike Pantalione will receive the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s (NSCAA) prestigious Bill Jeffrey Award in Baltimore. Pantalione becomes the first junior college coach to receive the award, given annually to honor the recipient’s long-term service and contribution to college soccer. (Courtesy photo)

In January 2016, Yavapai College soccer coach Mike Pantalione will receive the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s (NSCAA) prestigious Bill Jeffrey Award in Baltimore. Pantalione becomes the first junior college coach to receive the award, given annually to honor the recipient’s long-term service and contribution to college soccer. (Courtesy photo)

Yavapai College soccer coach Mike Pantalione was named the recipient of the prestigious National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Bill Jeffrey Award in late November for his longtime service and contributions to the collegiate game.

Pantalione, who has led the Roughriders to seven National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division 1 national titles since 1990, becomes the first JUCO coach to garner the honor. He will officially receive the award at the NSCAA Awards Banquet, in Baltimore, on Jan. 15, 2016.

"It's really a great, unbelievable honor," Pantalione said.

The Bill Jeffrey Award is named after the former Penn State coach who played a major role in shaping soccer and the NSCAA.

Jeffrey was head coach of the 1950 U.S. World Cup team that defeated England, 1-0, in one of the greatest upsets in soccer history. He coached Penn State for 26 seasons, winning 10 college national championships, and is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

A founding member of the NSCAA, Jeffrey served as president of the Association in 1948. Each year, the NSCAA presents the Jeffrey award to a person who has raised intercollegiate soccer to new heights through his or her long-term dedication to the game. Founded in 1941, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America is the largest soccer coaches' organization in the world, dedicated to serving the needs of soccer coaches. It now has more than 30,000 members.

The NSCAA administers an extensive awards and recognition program designed to recognize excellence in soccer, academics and service to the game.

In 2015, Pantalione completed his 27th year as Yavapai's first and only head soccer coach. Under his guidance, Yavapai has developed the most successful junior college soccer program in the nation.

The Roughriders have captured a total of 73 championships, including the aforementioned seven national crowns, as well as 18 final four finishes, a combined 41 region and district championships, and 25 conference titles.

Pantalione currently has the best winning percentage of any collegiate men's soccer coach with a 574-50-27 overall record (.904) and is the all-time leader in JUCO wins (574).

In 1995, Pantalione received the NSCAA/NISOA National Merit Honor. The honor is awarded to one college coach, whether from a 2- or 4-year program in the men's or women's game, whose reputation is deemed praiseworthy and reflective of the highest standards of professional and ethical behavior.

Several years later, in 2006, Pantalione became the first active coach elected to the NJCAA Soccer Hall of Fame. In 2012, he received the esteemed NJCAA National Service Award. That award is given to those who have made significant contributions to junior college athletics.

Then, earlier in 2015, Pantalione was awarded the NSCAA Letter of Commendation. It is presented for unusual achievement that clearly exceeds performance requirements, expectations and contributions beneficial to the NSCAA and soccer in the United States.

Additional honors for Pantalione include seven NJCAA and five NSCAA National Coach of the Year Awards. He has also been named NSCAA West Region Coach of the Year 17 times.

A 38-year member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, Pantalione is in his 19th year serving as National Chair for both the NJCAA and NSCAA Soccer Rankings.

Most of the information for this article was obtained courtesy of Yavapai College.

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