The United States Coach of the Year: 2002
Slade Gormus, Midlothian James River (Va.)
For 13 straight years in the state of Virginia, the state championship had been the exclusive property of the Southeast Region.
That is, until Midlothian James River (Va.) came along and shocked two-time defending champion Virginia Beach Princess Anne (Va.) in the state quarterfinals in 2002.
And it wasn't just that the Rapids were a little better that one night; they dominated possession and scoring chances from the opening hitback.
For this reason, plus the team's heart-stopping win over Burke Lake Braddock (Va.) in the final, Slade Gormus is awarded the 2002 TopOfTheCircle.com United States Coach of the Year.
"I think part of the reason they play as well as they do together is because we have fun, and I let them have fun," Gormus says. "And if they aren't having fun, there's not much sense in playing."
And there was fun to be had in 2002 thanks to center-midfielder Shannon Taylor and goalkeeper Jessica Shepherd, both of whom were the glue of the team.
Linda Budd, Delmar (Del.)
Monica DeBease, Cherry Hill Camden Catholic (N.J.)
Jeff Harding, Buckingham Central Bucks East (Pa.)
Mame LaVigne, St. Louis Cor Jesu (Mo.)