Franklin coach receives honor

Frongillo one of four finalists

Originally printed in Franklin Country Gazette, February 20, 2009

By Ken Hamwey
Sports Correspondent

Rich Frongillo has made it to the Final Four.

The former Franklin High soccer star, who has been chosen coach of the year by the Mass. Youth Soccer Association, could be in line for a national award.

The 41-year-old Franklin native is one of four regional winners in the running to be selected as the national youth coach of the year by the United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA). Frongillo, in addition to his statewide honor, was named the Region One coach of the year by USYSA. Region One, which includes 13 states, comprises New England, the Mid-Atlantic, Pennsylvania and New York.

Frongillo has been coaching boys and girls in the Franklin Youth Soccer Association for 20 years. This year he is coaching three travel teams, one instructional team, one club squad and also Pee-Wee soccer.

"I'm humbled to be the state and regional winner," Frongillo said. "Coaching soccer and giving back to the community is something I love doing. But it's important to realize there are hundreds of people in our region who volunteer their time. To be recognized is a great honor.

I've always tried to be a good role model for all children and this is a nice way to have that reinforced."

The national winner will be selected at the USYSA awards gala scheduled for March 6-8 in San Jose, Calif. Frongillo will attend the conference, where he will be honored along with the other regional winners.

Frongillo played three years on the Franklin High Varsity in the early 1980s. A striker, he scored 16 goals as a senior, leading his team in scoring and tying for the scoring lead Hockomock League. He was an All-State selection and a Milford Daily News all-star.

After graduating in 1985, he enrolled at the University of Massachusetts and played two years of junior varsity soccer, limited by a knee injury. UMass was 17th ranked nationally in Division I when Frongillo played.

Majoring in computer sciences, Frongillo graduated from UMass summa cum laude in 1989. Working first for three high-tech companies, he now owns his own business -- Tinetrix, a computer sales and service firm.

Frongillo, who started a soccer school four years ago in Franklin with Kevin Sayward, isn't afraid to stress his passion for the sport.

"If you teach skills, youth who learn them will be proud to show them off," Frongillo said. "As an instructor and a youth coach, I'm not afraid to share my passion for the sport and I would advise any youth coach to focus on fundamentals and repetition. And it's very important to remember that instructing is a marathon, not a sprint. Don't expect miracles in one day. Be a patient teacher."

Franklin's Rich Frongillo will head to San Jose, Calif. in early March to be honored as one of the top youth coaches in the United States.

Frongillo, who is married and has four children, has been a referee since 1987, is a certified instructor and has volunteered for the Bay State Games in the Special Olympics.

Bob Palmeiro, The USYSA Region One director, has high praise for the area's coach of the year.

"Rich is indeed worthy of this prestigious award and I was certainly impressed with his countless years of dedication coaching in Mass. youth soccer," Palmeiro said. "He has touched the lives of many with his passion and love for the game."

If Frongillo wins the national award next month, it will represent a sweep of the awards at the state, regional and national level.

"I can't imagine what it would be like to be the national coach of the year, Frongillo said. "It sure would be the gravy on top of the other honors."

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