Bethlehem Soccer Club - Appreciating Bill Horvath
I have been waiting to write about this for awhile. I've joked with people close to me that its been difficult to pick the right time because the story continues to be written. But its snowing out and today is as good a day as any to put a little BSC marker up on BFF so here goes.
Prior to leaving Bethlehem the first time around i played for BSC during my high school years from 1989-1990. All i knew back then is how much fun it was. In hindsight a big part of that fun was how good and competitive we were. I was somewhat new to the sport (a story for another day if you don't know it :) and literally was just told i need to play for BSC. So i did. That year I had the honor of being selected 1st team all-epc. I recall getting a Morning Call team picture for this "all-star" team taken at Liberty's Gym. 10 out of 11 of us in the picture if memory serves were all on the same BSC team. It was essentially a BSC team pic. I thought that was totally normal. Now i realize that was totally special.
I left Bethlehem and lived in Tampa, Florida for 14 years. Bought a house, met my wife, made #bffdray and had a nice extended vacation down south. We moved back here in 2010 because we wanted our kid(s) to grow up in the northeast. I had not been in the Bethlehem Soccer loop since 1997 when i left. So with really very little guidance or research i blindly signed up my son for GBSL in 2013. Won a garcia cup with BTAA in 2015. Next thing i know my son informs me he is all in with soccer and wants to quit baseball and basketball. Fortunately for me i had been in contact with former teammate and current friend Bill Horvath who was running BSC and within a couple weeks of this decision by #bffdray we were playing as a guest for Bill's team…because as luck would have it our son's were the same age.
Now i had seen ONLY Bill's BSC team in action. They were EXCELLENT. I realized real fast we had missed precious development time while finding our way through the slow-lane of Bethlehem youth soccer. My boy went guns a blazin' from the beginning and managed to catch-up pretty fast and he successfully made the team long-term the following spring. But to this day i was positively shocked at that huge leap of skill and work it took for #dray to go from fall-only BTAA superstar to Bill Horvath BSC player/starter. Since i was away for so long the BSC team that Bill had created was aligned perfectly with what i had experienced as a youth and is exactly what i expected when i returned. I was super proud of my boy making this team. Same ol' BSC right? I shared the news with a few local soccer people when i got the chance and quite frankly no one seemed overly impressed. Now i knew LVU had become a powerhouse…but geez. I knew how good these BSC kids were. Then i had an epiphany…
Holy crap. Bill's team is the only BSC team holding a standard that i had grown to expect from the club! The rest of the club's rep had gone south while i was away. Now at this point Bill Horvath is also the president of Bethlehem Soccer Club and this epiphany is most certainly no reflection of him and his ability run an entire club. Let's get one thing straight this wonderful TEAM is a reflection of him…this team is his passion. Meanwhile as a service to the community and Bethlehem soccer as a whole Bill managed to save (yes save) Bethlehem Soccer Club by keeping the rest of the club and its teams on life support -- this was his hobby :) He'll never tell you this himself…but its a fact. Bill Horvath saved BSC. Years of new clubs sprouting up all over combined with a deteriorating leadership left BSC hanging by a thread. You know the old joke…"don't go to the bathroom at a board meeting…or you'll come back as the president" ? That literally happened to him! He not only owned it but embraced it and successfully set the league up to succeed for years to come.
BSC has a strong academy and is literally adding travel teams as we speak. The existing teams are succeeding and joining better leagues. There are whispers of other clubs struggling and folding. Meanwhile BSC is seeing an influx of former players coming back with their children and the momentum is very real and simply awesome to see. This summer i was training a couple girls at my goalkeeping clinic and afterwards the father (a fella i hadn't seen in 25 years) comes up and thanks me for my efforts. Turns out its a "kid" i played vs in high school and with at Moravian! Just beyond cool stuff.
Now lets finish with a little more info on Mr. Horvath's masterpiece…his current U-13 team…which includes a core of about 8 local kids that he has been training from the beginning. The team has not lost in Fall ICYSL league play in 2 years. We reached the final 8 in the spring state cup last year and could have easily gone farther. The team features 10 ODP kids on this years Lehigh Valley team. Two of them are regional. We will officially be making the leap to EDP this upcoming fall and start chasing those points. I cannot express enough how much my son has developed playing for this team…and they are all only getting better together. Many of these kids will be entering the 7 grade middle school soccer season this year so keep an eye on these games…they should be a VERY exciting peek into the future of Bethlehem High School Soccer. Must see stuff.
Coach Bill always insists that its the quality of the kids and the dedication they bring to the sport each day that keeps him churning away as a coach. Its clear that his formula produces a player loyalty that is rarely seen at any level much less one at this young age. Its been so inspiring that myself and another former teammate Matt Lyons have started an U-8 BSC girls team with our daughters and we plan on using his success as the template for building our team. We are not the only ones within the club doing this. Its an exciting time to be sure.
Now Bill didn't do it alone. I want to give huge thanks to all the other BSC family members that have been a part of this inspiring survival story that has transpired over the last 5 years. He has not done this without some level of support. I am just doubtful if he didn't step up if BSC would still be here. He did so many great former BSC people proud and it needs to be acknowledged as a very real part of the very rich history of this club.
So big thanks to Coach Horvath. Take a breath my friend…smell the roses…you did good!
Tons of exciting BSC announcements are on the horizon. I have recently started a twitter account for BSC@bethlehemSC … and i will be filling that account up with all kinds of good stuff so please give it a follow if you haven't already.
* one last note...i know bill has (and i do too) nothing but the highest regards for anyone who has invested one minute of their lives in sustaining this club since its inception in 1986...this entry is 100% completely my opinion based on my experiences with the club since 2015...i am positive a portion of coach bill's passion and pride came directly from those who came before him here at BSC --- long before i ever showed up