The Free Press, Mankato, MN
October 31, 2012
RUEDA: Soccer coaches deserve honors
By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
They’ve combined for more than 300 wins over the last 16 seasons and,
earlier this month at the Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaches
Association recognition banquet, Leonard Woelfel and Crissy Makela
received their due.
The Mankato West coaches were formally inducted into the MSHSSCA Hall
of Fame. Few would argue they are deserving of the honor. They built
their respective programs from scratch and have turned them into
perennial contenders for section titles and accompanying state
Woelfel has a 178-53-29 record over 15 seasons at West while also
serving in many other capacities at various levels of soccer. Among
the hats he was worn are Mankato United Soccer Club president, MSHSSCA
board member, Section 2A boys representative, coaches clinic student
demonstrator co-coordinator, academic award co-coordinator and
all-tournament selection committee member. He also serves as a referee
at many matches during the fall and summer seasons.
I can tell you from watching him on the sidelines that Woelfel is a
taskmaster. He doesn’t mince words if he thinks a player has made a
mistake, but he usually uses constructive criticism to make his point.
He’s the kind of coach who gets the most out of his players.
Makela has garnered many of the same awards as Woelfel and has served
in many of the same positions. In 16 years at West, she has a record
of 130-144-20, which includes a lot of growing-pains seasons during
the early years.
She has been a section rep, organizer of clinic demonstrator, senior
classic host, all-tournament committee member, academic award
coordinator and board member of the MSHSSCA.
She has twice been named Section 2A coach of the year and last season
was selected at the National Soccer Coaches Association Minnesota
Girls Small School Coach of the Year.
From watching her during matches, it has become obvious that Makela’s
primary method of coaching revolves around encouragement.
While she doesn’t hesitate to correct flaws she may see in a player or
formation, she strives to do so in as positively as possible. Both she
and Woelfel stress team first and individuals second.
If you stay in coaching long enough you're bound to pile up a
significant amount of wins, but that has never been the goal of either
Woelfel or Makela. Teaching athletes the benefits of hard work,
determination, responsibility and the right way to do things have
always been their primary focus.
Hall of Fame membership is something that’s simply given out, it’s
earned. Over the past 15 to 16 years, Woelfel and Makela have done